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After slow start, good ending projected for field cropsAfter slow start, good ending projected for field crops

Yields are higher in most states across the region, with corn looking better than soybeans.

Chris Torres

October 23, 2023

4 Min Read
A field of corn with dry plants ready for harvest
ALMOST READY: A drying field of corn is nearly ready for harvest on this farm in Lancaster County, Pa. Photos by Chris Torres

Corn and soybean yields have been adjusted lower in most places in the region, mirroring the national trend.

But it’s still looking a whole lot better than what was expected this summer.

“We are approaching half complete with harvest. The crop is doing well, especially when you consider it felt like we could have a total loss back in June before the rains started,” says Bill Beam, owner of Beam Farms, a 3,600-acre operation with corn, soybeans, wheat, grass hay and 27 head of beef cattle in Elverson, Pa.

“Corn averages are good with up to 250 bushels plus per acre on our better farms,” he adds. “Soybeans are about average with better farms yielding over 70 bushels per acre.”

Same goes for Don Cairns, who grows 1,600 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat around Parkesburg, Pa.

“Back in early June, we were thinking this was going to be a really bad year,” he says. “It was extremely dry to the point that we weren’t so sure the crops would survive. The rain came just in time, and we got adequate rain between late June and early August. Yields are better than expected. Most of our farms with soybeans yielded between 70 and 75 bushels per acre, and so far the corn is running between 225 and 240. I had one farm that averaged 248 for corn.”

Check out updated corn and soybean yields, and production from USDA’s most recent Crop Production Report:

Corn yields have been adjusted down from the September update in every state in the region, except for Delaware, where expected corn yield has been adjusted to 186 bushels per acre, up from 184 bushels in September.

Maryland’s expected corn yield is 158 bushels, down 2 bushels from September. New York’s corn yield is 163 bushels, down 1 bushel from September. Pennsylvania’s corn yield is 154 bushels, down 2 bushels from September.

Michigan’s corn yield is 170 bushels, down 3 bushels from September, while Ohio’s corn yield, at 195 bushels, is unchanged.

Delaware’s soybean yield is slightly higher at 46 bushels per acre, up 1 bushel from September.

Maryland’s soybean yield is down slightly at 46 bushels, down 2 bushels. New York’s soybean yield is down 1 bushel to 52 bushels. Pennsylvania’s soybean yield is 45 bushels, down 4 bushels from September.

Michigan’s soybean yield is 46 bushels per acre, down 3 bushels from September. Ohio’s soybean yield, 57 bushels, is down 1 bushel from September.

Other crops

The report also posted updated alfalfa and other hay yields for the season.

Michigan’s alfalfa yield averaged 3.3 tons per acre, up from 2.6 tons last year. Total production is 1.9 million tons, up from 1.5 million tons.

New York’s alfalfa yield averaged 2.6 million tons, unchanged from last year, while total production is 546,000 tons, down from 624,000 tons.

Ohio’s alfalfa yield averaged 3.5 tons per acre, up from 3.1 tons, and total production is 1.05 million tons, up from 868,000 tons.

Pennsylvania’s alfalfa yield averaged 3.4 tons, down from 3.6 tons per acre, while total production is 1.02 million tons, down from 1.1 million tons.

All other hay in Michigan was 1.7 tons per acre, down from 1.9 tons. Total production is 391,000 tons, down from 437,000 tons.

New York production was 2.0 tons per acre, up from 1.85 tons. Production is 1.9 million tons, up from 1.85 million tons.

Ohio averaged 2.2 tons per acre, down from 2.5 tons per acre. Production is 1.2 million tons, down from 1.4 million tons.

Pennsylvania averaged 2.1 tons per acre, down from 2.5 tons. Production was 2.2 million tons, down from 2.6 million tons.

National view

Corn grain production is forecast at 15.1 billion bushels, down less than 1% from the September forecast but up 10% from 2022. Yields are expected to average 173 bushels per acre, down 0.8 bushel from the previous forecast and down 0.4 bushel from last year.

Soybean production is forecast at 4.10 billion bushels, down 1% from the previous forecast and down 4% from 2022. Yields are expected to average 49.6 bushels per acre, down 0.5 bushel from the previous forecast but equal to 2022.

About the Author(s)

Chris Torres

Editor, American Agriculturist

Chris Torres, editor of American Agriculturist, previously worked at Lancaster Farming, where he started in 2006 as a staff writer and later became regional editor. Torres is a seven-time winner of the Keystone Press Awards, handed out by the Pennsylvania Press Association, and he is a Pennsylvania State University graduate.

Torres says he wants American Agriculturist to be farmers' "go-to product, continuing the legacy and high standard (former American Agriculturist editor) John Vogel has set." Torres succeeds Vogel, who retired after 47 years with Farm Progress and its related publications.

"The news business is a challenging job," Torres says. "It makes you think outside your small box, and you have to formulate what the reader wants to see from the overall product. It's rewarding to see a nice product in the end."

Torres' family is based in Lebanon County, Pa. His wife grew up on a small farm in Berks County, Pa., where they raised corn, soybeans, feeder cattle and more. Torres and his wife are parents to three young boys.

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