Duffy Grain, Inc.
Phone:

(920) 623-4160
 
Fax:
(920) 623-4199


Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 250
Columbus, WI 53925

Columbus Location:
N3867 Baden St.
Columbus, WI 53925

Marshall Location:
6107 Twin Lane Rd.
Marshall, WI 53559
- DTN Headline News
Fine Tuning Corn Yields
Monday, September 16, 2019 3:10PM CDT
By Alan Brugler
DTN Contributing Analyst

USDA rolled out another crop production report Thursday, Sept. 12, with the companion World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE). Unlike the two most recent editions, this report was a lot closer to trade expectations, generally going in the same direction. Estimated planted and harvested acres were left unchanged from last month. There are still questions about whether permitting corn to be grown as a cover crop will result in a higher abandonment/silage number, resulting in fewer acres harvested for grain. National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) indicated that it might not resolve that question until after the big post-harvest farmer survey in December. Producers are asked to specify silage acres in that survey, with results released in January on the mega report day.

NASS cut projected national average corn and soybean yields, which most producers had argued was necessary. The average soy yield was reduced 0.6 bushels per acre (bpa) to 47.9 bpa. The average yield for corn was trimmed 1.3 bpa from last month to 168.2 bpa. Projected average corn yields were reduced from last month in 19 states, and increased in four. In the garden spot of the U.S. this year, the Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri yields were left unchanged from last month's estimates. Now the fine-tuning begins. Out of the past 20 years, NASS has been too low on final yield in the September report 11 times and too high nine times. The average miss is 3.1% or 269 million bushels (mb). There are a number of ways to get from September to the final number, however.

First, we have to remember the methodology NASS is using. The primary horse the analysts are riding is the farmer survey, with 9,624 completed surveys for this September report. NASS fills in the data holes from the farmer surveys with satellite data and with their own objective yield plots. There were 2,905 objective yield plots visited between Aug. 24 and Sept. 1. The satellites tell you what crop is there, and via Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) can give you some correlation between the image and historical yield. Where the satellite images pair up with ground observations, you can calibrate the satellite data. This is the area where most of the ag and weather industry satellite forecasts fall apart. They don't have enough ground truth samples because they don't do as many farmer surveys or objective yield plots. The latter is very important because they give you ear counts, ear girth and length that are nearly impossible to measure from a satellite no matter how good your camera is.

Speaking of ear counts, they are down this year. Here are the September ear counts per acre for the 10 states tracked for this purpose. None of them have a record-high ear count, as late planting, poor soil conditions, compaction and other issues took a toll. Final ear counts are usually lower than the September number. Compare the Final 2018 to the Sept. 18 column for a general idea.

Corn Ears
Per Acre Final Final Final Final Final Final Sept Sept Max
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2018 2019
IL 30150 30100 30800 30450 30250 31500 31550 30300 31550
IN 29850 30450 29150 29250 28850 29750 30000 28900 30450
IA 29550 30150 30850 30500 30600 30800 31150 30250 31150
KS 22200 24000 23650 22450 22650 21700 22350 21550 24000
MN 30850 30950 30450 30250 30600 30800 30850 30050 30950
MO 27100 27900 26850 27150 27850 27300 27400 26950 27900
NE 25700 26200 26700 25400 25950 26800 27100 25850 27100
OH 28300 29600 29600 29600 29150 30300 30750 29850 30750
SD 25300 24450 25750 25450 25850 28050 28100 26450 28100
WI 28950 28600 28600 28750 28550 30450 30700 29850 30700
Average 27795 28240 28240 27925 28030 28745 28995 28000

This is the lowest ear count per acre since the 2012 drought. A quick and dirty, unweighted average for the 10 states puts the ear count at 28,000 in September, down 3.5% from last September. If ear weight was identical, you'd expect yield to be 3.5% smaller, i.e. 170.34 bpa. This is only from 10 states, and USDA is actually using something north of 28,100. National average ear weights can vary from a little over .31 pounds per ear to a bit over .36 pounds. Number of kernel rows, kernel depth and ear length all enter into that part of the equation.

With the exception of 2018, final ear weights were higher than the one used in September. Since very few of the objective yield plots have been harvested and sent to the lab yet, the ear weight for 2019 is derived from the farmer survey/published yield and the ear count. Producers are basically saying the grain weight is going to be the lightest since 2014 due to smaller ears.

To wrap up our little exercise, that yield number is still a moving target. Just about all the data we have at our disposal suggests a below-trend yield, but how much below is a question mark. The elephant in the room -- the delayed maturity of the crop -- suggests we still have considerable risk of a freeze hitting before all the crop makes it to black layer (maturity). That would hurt grain weight by stopping starch deposition.

If something like that happens (the GFS and European models are in some disagreement right now) we also have to remember that it does not typically hit all states equally. If you get a 10% loss on a state that has 3% of U.S. production, that is only a .3% hit on U.S. production.

It is a big deal if it is your corn, but otherwise not so much.

Alan Brugler may be reached at alanb@bruglermktg.com

(BE/BAS)


blog iconDTN Blogs & Forums
DTN Market Matters Blog
Editorial Staff
Monday, September 16, 2019 10:48AM CDT
Friday, September 13, 2019 10:58AM CDT
Monday, September 9, 2019 11:12AM CDT
Technically Speaking
Editorial Staff
Monday, September 16, 2019 8:40AM CDT
Monday, September 9, 2019 8:34AM CDT
Tuesday, September 3, 2019 8:31AM CDT
Fundamentally Speaking
Joel Karlin
DTN Contributing Analyst
Monday, September 16, 2019 1:04PM CDT
Wednesday, September 11, 2019 1:17PM CDT
Friday, September 6, 2019 8:13AM CDT
DTN Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton
DTN Ag Policy Editor
Friday, September 13, 2019 8:45AM CDT
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 9:12AM CDT
Thursday, September 5, 2019 4:44PM CDT
Minding Ag's Business
Katie Behlinger
Farm Business Editor
Friday, September 13, 2019 4:03PM CDT
Wednesday, September 4, 2019 11:26AM CDT
Friday, August 30, 2019 5:22PM CDT
DTN Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson
DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst
Friday, September 13, 2019 7:45AM CDT
Thursday, September 12, 2019 1:32PM CDT
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 6:01PM CDT
DTN Ethanol Blog
Editorial Staff
Monday, September 16, 2019 3:49PM CDT
Friday, September 13, 2019 11:14AM CDT
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 8:50AM CDT
DTN Production Blog
Pam Smith
Crops Technology Editor
Friday, September 6, 2019 2:43PM CDT
Friday, August 16, 2019 3:27PM CDT
Friday, August 16, 2019 3:27PM CDT
Harrington's Sort & Cull
John Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 9:27AM CDT
Thursday, August 1, 2019 11:33AM CDT
Monday, July 29, 2019 5:10PM CDT
South America Calling
Editorial Staff
Monday, September 9, 2019 10:59AM CDT
Tuesday, September 3, 2019 11:58AM CDT
Wednesday, August 7, 2019 8:34AM CDT
An Urban’s Rural View
Urban Lehner
Editor Emeritus
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 8:52AM CDT
Sunday, September 1, 2019 3:04PM CDT
Tuesday, August 20, 2019 2:18PM CDT
Machinery Chatter
Dan Miller
Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 3:49PM CDT
Thursday, September 5, 2019 2:58PM CDT
Wednesday, September 4, 2019 10:27AM CDT
Canadian Markets
Cliff Jamieson
Canadian Grains Analyst
Monday, September 16, 2019 3:40PM CDT
Friday, September 13, 2019 3:54PM CDT
Thursday, September 12, 2019 3:20PM CDT
Editor’s Notebook
Greg D. Horstmeier
DTN Editor-in-Chief
Tuesday, August 27, 2019 4:36PM CDT
Tuesday, August 6, 2019 12:29PM CDT
Friday, July 19, 2019 5:43PM CDT
 
Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN