USDA: SD corn projections increased again

South Dakota’s projected record corn production was further increased today in the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report. If not for the cold, wet conditions throughout the state, farmers would be actively gathering an estimated 690 million bushels of corn statewide, up 2 percent from last month’s forecast. Yield was also bumped by 3 bushels per acre in the state to a predicted 150 bushels per acre.

“Farmers are anxious to secure the bushels we know are in the fields but there is concern as the wet conditions continue,” said Bill Chase, president of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association. “Still the estimated record corn yield will provide our livestock and ethanol industries as well as our export partners the confidence of ample supply.”

Nationwide, corn production is forecast at 13.018 billion bushels, up 1 percent from last month and 8 percent higher than 2008. Based on conditions as of October 1, yields are expected to average 164.2 bushels per acre, up 2.3 bushels from September and 10.3 bushels from last year. Production is nearly on par with 2007 despite a 6.5 million acre decrease in land use.

“Time and again our nation’s corn producers have exceeded all expectations in productivity and yield,” said Chase. “What’s more is this increase is accomplished while decreasing our environmental footprint. Technology advances and sound farming practices have allowed us to produce more bushels of corn while using fewer inputs.”

Notably though, both the price and ability to harvest may be compromised due to weather conditions across the Midwest, and certainly here South Dakota. According to the USDA Ag Statistics Service as of this week, corn rated mature is at 57 percent, compared to 71 percent last year and 78 percent for the five-year average. Only 2 percent of corn was harvested for grain, compared to 5 percent last year at this same time.

“There is great variability throughout the state in crop maturity but comparatively to previous years, it is certainly time to be harvesting,” said Chase. “Once Mother Nature gives us an opportunity, farmers’ dedication coupled with our modern mechanization will allow producers to harvest in record time. The SDCGA encourages producers to practice safety and caution as the harvest gets underway fully in coming weeks.”

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