Both total production and average yields per acre nationally for corn and soybeans could set records, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Tuesday (Aug. 12).
USDA forecast the corn crop at 14.03 billion bushels, up from its July forecast of 13.86 billion and from the 2013 harvest of 13.925 billion. The soybean crop at 3.816 billion would be up from July’s 3.8 billion forecast and from 2013’s 3.3 billion.
"The markets were expecting huge crops, and the report certainly supports that assessment," said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of the Purdue University College of Agriculture. "Overall good weather across the nation has provided just about ideal growing conditions."
Akridge, an agricultural economist, moderated a Purdue Extension panel discussion of agriculture experts who analyzed the USDA's August Crop Production Report, the first projection of 2014 crop yields for the fall harvest. Panelists were Ted McKinney, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture; Chris Hurt, Extension agricultural economist; Bob Nielsen, Extension corn specialist; Shaun Casteel, Extension soybean specialist; and Greg Matli, the NASS's Indiana statistician, who gave a report on the projections.
While the total production signals a bounty of corn and soybean supplies that will provide enough product for livestock and ethanol producers and eventually help to moderate increases in food prices, futures prices for both crops have dropped to their lowest levels since 2010 - corn below $4 per bushel and soybeans under $11. Prices that farmers will receive could fall so low that they would trigger payments to farmers under provisions in the new farm bill.
"Prices are one of the things that isn’t so positive in this report," Hurt said. "The revenues will be down sharply this year." He said crop farmers’ incomes could fall 25-30 percent.
Preceding the panel discussion, the Purdue Center for Commercial Agriculture and Indiana Farm Service Agency held a conference to explain financial implications for crop farmers under the 2014 farm bill and the choices they would have for financial protection.
The bounty of crops, however, will be good for businesses such as grain elevators, processors and livestock producers "who will benefit from the lowest prices we have seen in a number of years."