Mid-East States Exceed Corn Yield Trend

A change in weather patterns over the last five years has given several middle eastern US states better corn yield performance than even most Corn Belt states, said an Illinois Economist.

However, those conditions could just as easily swing back to “normal” in coming years, leading to lower yields, lower incomes and more financial stress for affected farmers.

Writing in the Illinois Farmdoc Daily, University of Illinois Economist, Gary Schnitkey, questioned why some western states even averaged below-trend yields.

He said the only explanation was the weather.




From 2013 through 2018, US corn yields have been above trend yields by an average of 8.2 bushels an acre per year, Schnitkey said.

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported the 2018 average US corn yield at a record 178.9 bushels an acre, surpassing the previous record of 176.6 bushels set in 2017.

Schnitkey said the trend yield is a 40-year moving average of national yields.  This is so each year’s trend yield can be based on the same length of time series and allows the value of the trend yield to react to changes in values.

The 2018 trend yield was 169.3 bushels per acre and was a good expectation of the yield before the growing season.  However, the actual yield was 9.6 bushels above trend.

Since the drought of 2012, all actual yields have been above trend, he said, although in 2013, the actual yield was only 0.7 bushels above trend of 157.4 bushels an acre at 158.1 bushels.

Since 2013, all actual yields have been significantly above trend: 11.5 bushels in 2014, 6.7 bushels in 2015, 10.6 bushels in 2015, 10.0 bushels in 2017 and 9.6 bushels in 2018.  From 2013 to 2018, yield-from-trend averaged 8.2 bushels per acre, Schnitkey said.




Not all regions necessarily shared in above-trend yields from 2013 to 2018, he said.

For his study, annual trend yields were calculated for each state for each year from 2013 to 2018.  Then the differences between actual yields and trend yields were calculated for each year.  Finally, the average yield-from-trend from 2013 to 2018 was calculated for each state.

There were large variations in yields-from-trend by state, Schnitkey said.  Seven states had actual yields-from-trend that averaged at least 20 bushels acre over trend:  Alabama averaged 27 bushels above trend, Delaware 26 bushels, Virginia and Maryland 22 bushels each, Kentucky 21 and Illinois and Tennessee were 20 bushels above trend.

All those states were continuous to one another in an area east of the Mississippi River. The center of the region appeared to be in the middle part of eastern US.

Several states averaged negative yields-from-trend.  California -18, Colorado -11, Washington -10, Oklahoma -2 and Kansas -1, he said.

All Corn Belt states had positive yields-above-trend, although there were large differences.  Illinois was the best with an average of 20 bushels above trend.  The next highest were Ohio and Indiana, each with 12 bushels above.




Cash cattle traded last week at $122 to $123 per cwt on a live basis in the Plains, steady to down $1 from the previous week.  Dressed-basis trades were reported at $194 to $195, also steady to down $1.

The USDA choice cutout Friday was down $1.98 per cwt at $214.51, while select was off $1.72 at $207.66.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $6.85 from $7.11 with 92 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Thursday, was $145.60 per cwt, down $0.46.  This compares with Friday’s Jan settlement of $144.90, down $1.62.