As the nation’s corn crop moves along at a brisk pace, many are questioning whether the rapid maturity has cut into the potential for record yields. Unfortunately, there’s not an analog year to do a true comparison, according to Karen Braun from Thompson Reuters.
“Well, I guess I can go back to 1987. And that's because in 1987, we were also just about 37% dough as of as of the same [time frame]. So right, about the same pace,” Braun explained on AgriTalk After The Bell. “The problem with comparing back to 1987 is that we've come a long way since 1987. And, and of course, the corn still doesn't like hot and dry weather. But we've definitely seen improvement in the genetics, and in the management practices, etc., that [make it] very difficult to really pick out an analog year. But, 1987 does show that there is precedent for being so quick and having great yields.”
According to Braun, the major difference between 2018 and 1987 is rainfall. The July and August rainfall were really close to record in 1987, she says. And in July of this year, rainfall across the corn belt wasn’t 100% of average. Still, Pro Farmer editor Brian Grete says there’s still potential for 2018 to be a record crop.
“The recipe for big yields has always been to slow cook [corn]. So you get to pollination and then from that point you go as slow as you can into the end of the growing season,” he explained. “The more time you have, the more dry matter the crop has. The more dry matter means the heavier it is which means the more yield, because yield is actually weight.”
USDA reports this corn crop is a week to two weeks more mature than it usually is at this time, which would suggest a smaller crop than anticipated. However, Grete reminds producers and traders alike that just because this crop was pushed along and likely won’t be as big as it could have been, it still could produce record yields.
“Whether or not it's a record is still to be determined,” he says. “We rushed it, but that doesn't mean that it can't be a record. I think it’s still a good crop out there. We anticipate the yields will be good. It's just a matter of how good they are. I don't think there's any way that you can say, ‘well, we rushed the crop so it's not going to be record,’”