Bloomberg News

Ohio Corn Yield Falls 29%, Soy Counts Decline, Tour Shows

August 20, 2012

Corn yields measured in Ohio fell more than the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast earlier this month as hot, dry weather damaged reproducing crops in July, according to findings published from the annual Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. Soybean-pod counts dropped from a year ago.

Average corn yields found on the 20th Midwest crop tour in the western two-thirds of Ohio, the eighth-biggest corn- producing state, were down 29 percent at 110.5 bushels, smaller than an average yield of 156.3 bushels found a year earlier on the tour and 160.5 bushels on average the prior three years. The government said Aug. 10 the average Ohio state yield will fall 20 percent to 126 bushels from 158 bushels last year.

“Tour participants observed today that kernel size was as much as 20 percent smaller than average,” said Bryan Blum, an analyst for Arlon Group LLC in New York, who is touring Midwest fields for a second time this year. “The reduced kernel size is not fully accounted for in tour yield estimates. If this trend continues across the rest of the Midwest, there could be additional downside risk to yields beyond tour assessments.”

About 62 percent of Ohio was rated in moderate-to-extreme drought condition on Aug. 14, up from 5.3 percent a year earlier, according to data from the U.S. Drought Monitor. Weekly corn crop conditions fell last week in Ohio, with 54 percent of the state’s crop rated in poor or very poor condition as of Aug. 19, compared with 53 percent a week earlier and the lowest since the same week in 1988, the USDA said yesterday.

Soybean Yield

Soybean-yield potential also fell with the worst drought in a generation. Tour participants measured average soybean-pod counts at 1,034 in 3-foot-square samples in Ohio, the sixth- largest producing state last year, down 17.5 percent from last year’s tour average of 1,253 pods, when the state produced 47.5 bushels per acre. The USDA estimated the yields would fall 12 percent to 42 bushels on Aug. 10 from a year ago.

“Recent rains are not going to boost soybean-yield potential in Ohio,” said Dick Overby, an area coordinator in southern Minnesota for Rain & Hail LLC, a crop insurance company. “The crop is already shutting down.”

Participants include farmers, brokers, hedge-fund analysts, agronomists and grain buyers, who travel the main corn-and- soybean-growing regions in seven states over four days. The U.S. is the largest grower of both crops.

The tour attempts to gauge corn and soybean-yield potential by sampling crops every 20 miles (32 kilometers). The Professional Farmers of America newsletter will release its own U.S. crop estimates on Aug. 24, based partly on the tour’s findings.

The eastern leg of the tour will sample crops on routes from Fisher, Indiana, to Bloomington, Illinois, while the western leg will trek from Grand Island, Nebraska, to Nebraska City.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Wilson in Chicago at jwilson29@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net


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