Piatt corn yields forecast much higher than last year
BEMENT — Corn yields in the greater Piatt County area are estimated to average 178 bushels an acre, according to a sampling of fields in the territory served by Topflight Grain Cooperative.
That compares with last year's estimate of 122 bushels an acre, when area fields were stricken by drought, said Derrick Bruhn, Topflight's grain merchandising manager.
More than a dozen scouting teams made more than 100 checks in fields in Piatt and surrounding counties over the past week, Bruhn said in announcing the results Monday.
Some of the highest estimated yields were in the Cisco and Monticello areas, where yields were in the 190- and 200-bushel ranges. The lowest estimated yield — 145.4 bushels — was near Seymour in western Champaign County.
"Quality-wise, there was not a lot of fungus, not a lot of mold," Bruhn told about 150 farmers who gathered at Bement's Second Story Banquet Center to hear the results.
The corn estimates should be fairly close to actual yield, Bruhn said, adding that typically there's no more than 5 percent difference between the August estimates and harvest.
The scouts also scoped out soybean fields and found an average of 32 pods per plant across the territory. However, a lot of the pods were flat, and Bruhn said there's some risk they may not fill out.
"The earlier-planted beans podded out nice," he said.
A good rain this week would make a difference in the soybean crop, but little to no precipitation is forecast. Last year's pod counts were "horrible" — averaging 28 pods per plant — but late-season rains associated with Hurricane Isaac benefited the crop.
This year, the greatest number of pods per plant were found in the Monticello area, with averages of 48.5 and 55.5 reported at two sites there. The lowest average pod count — 24.7 — was in the Seymour area.
Bruhn said that between April and August, rainfall in Topflight territory totaled 22.95 inches, compared with 9.71 inches during those months in 2012 and 18.91 inches during those months in 2011.
The problem was, much of this year's rain came in April and precipitation died off in August, he said.
Also Monday, a commodity market researcher told the group he doesn't expect the prices of corn and soybeans to dip back down to their summer lows.
Roy Huckabay, executive vice president of the Linn Group, said corn's low price for the summer — about $4.50 a bushel — is probably the low for the year.
Huckabay said soybean yields remain uncertain, since rains could still resurrect them. But he said, "Bean prices have also put in lows for the summer."
As for whether prices are likely to climb, Huckabay said, "I don't see corn rallying much. I don't know about beans."
Huckabay stressed that competition from growers in Brazil and in the area around the Black Sea is getting stronger.
He said the U.S. once accounted for 60 percent of world corn exports and now accounts for only 20 percent.
"A loss of export share is difficult to regain," he said.