The Oct. 9 USDA Crop Report showed an increase for both U.S. corn and soybean yields, as compared to September report. This corresponds closely to actual corn and soybean yields being reported from many areas of the western and northern Corn Belt, which have been better than expected, given the very favorable growing conditions in 2015. Crop yields in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest have been good to excellent in most portions of the region, while yields in the eastern Corn Belt have been average to poor. The increased corn and soybean yields in the latest USDA Report was more than offset by reductions in the estimated harvested acreage for both crops, and resulted in decreases in the expected 2014 crop production levels, compared to the September Report.
USDA is now estimating the total 2015 corn production at the record level of 13.55 billion bushels, which is well below the 14.2 billion bushels produced in 2014, but would still be the third highest total U.S. corn production in history. Total U.S. corn production was 13.9 billion bushels in 2013, 10.8 billion bushels in the drought year of 2012, and 12.3 billion bushels in 2011. The 2015 average U.S. corn yield is now estimated at 168.0 bushels per acre, which is a slight increase from the September estimate of 167.5 bushels per acre. The 2014 projected national average corn yield compares to the record U.S. corn yield of 171 bushels per acre in 2014, 158.8 bushels per acre in 2013, 123.4 bushels per acre in 2012, and 147.2 bushels per acre in 2011.
The USDA report estimated total soybean production in 2015 at 3.89 billion bushels, which is slightly lower than the 2014 record production level of 3.93 billion bushels. Other recent U.S. soybean production levels were 3.36 billion bushels in 2013, 3.01 billion bushels in 2012, and 3.06 billion bushels in 2011. The average U.S. soybean yield for 2015 is now projected at 47.2 bushels per acre, which is a slight increase from the September USDA estimate of 47.1 bushels per acre. The 2015 U.S. soybean yield estimate compares to the record yield of 47.5 bushels per acre in 2013, 44.0 bushels per acre in 2013, 39.6 bushels per acre in 2012, and 41.5 bushels per acre in 2011.
USDA is estimating the 2015 Minnesota corn yield at a record level of 184 bushels per acre. The 2015 Minnesota anticipated corn yield is well above the final 2014 average MN corn yield of 156 bushels per acre, and 160 bushels per acre in 2013. The previous record corn yield was 177 bushels per acre in 2010. USDA is now estimating the 2015 average corn yield in Iowa to be at 183 bushels per acre, which is up substantially from the 2014 corn yield of 178 bushels per acre. Illinois is projected to have a 2015 average corn yield of 170 bushels per acre, down considerably from 200 bushels per acre in 2014. Other 2015 estimated corn yields are 156 bushels per acre for Indiana, compared to 188 bushels per acre in 2014; 184 bushels per acre in Nebraska, compared to 179 bushels per acre in 2014; and 161 bushels per acre in South Dakota, compared to 148 bushels per acre in 2014.
The USDA Report estimated the 2015 Minnesota soybean yield at a record level of 48 bushels per acre, which compares to 41.5 bushels per acre in 2014 and 42.0 bushels per acre in 2013. The previous state record average yield was 45 bushels per acre in 2010. The projected 2015 Iowa soybean yield is estimated at 53 bushels per acre, which compares to an average yield of 51 bushels per acre in 2014. Other projected 2015 state average soybean yields are Illinois at 54 bushels per acre, compared to 56 bushels per acre in 2014; Indiana at 51 bushels per acre, compared to 55.5 bushels per acre in 2014; Nebraska at 56 bushels per acre, compared to 54 bushels per acre in 2014; and South Dakota at 46 bushels per acre, compared to 45 bushels per acre in 2014.
The slight decrease in the projected 2015 total U.S. corn production resulted in USDA decreasing the expected 2015-16 corn carryout levels to 1.56 billion bushels in the latest monthly Supply and Demand Report, which compares to the final 2014-14 carryout level of 1.73 billion bushel. A year ago at this time, USDA was projecting carryout levels to exceed 2 billion bushels. USDA also increased the projected 2015-16 average on-farm corn price levels slightly, to a range of $3.50-4.10 per bushel, or an average of $3.80 per bushel. This compares to a 2014-15 projected on-farm price of $3.40 per bushel in October 2014. The final 2014-15 average U.S. corn price was $3.70 per bushel.
The latest USDA Report lowered the expected 2015-16 soybean carryout levels to 425 million bushels, as compared to 450 million bushels in September; however, soybean carryout levels are still at the highest levels in several years. Final soybean carryout levels were 191 million bushels in 2014-14 and 92 million bushels in 2013-14. USDA is now estimating the 2015-16 national average price for soybeans in a range of $8.40-9.90 per bushel, with an average of $9.15 per bushel, which is unchanged from the September estimates. This compares to a 2014-15 projected on-farm price of $10.00 per bushel in October 2014. The final 2014-15 average U.S. soybean price was $10.10 per bushel.