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Ida’s effects not reflected in crop forecast

Record corn and soybean yields are still predicted in Michigan, the Northeast and Ohio.

Chris Torres

September 16, 2021

3 Min Read
corn field
DRYING DOWN: Corn is starting to dry down in preparation for grain harvest later this fall in Pennsylvania. Yields are expected to break records, but the full extent of flooding rains earlier this month might lower those yields a bit.Chris Torres

The most recent crop production report from USDA shows very few changes from the forecasted record yields and production from August. But the numbers might not have accounted yet for the flooding rains from Hurricane Ida.

As of Sept. 1, corn production and yields were adjusted higher for Delaware, New York and Michigan; adjusted lower for Ohio and Maryland; and were a mixed bag for Pennsylvania. Soybean yields and production were adjusted lower from the August forecast in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, with a mixed bag in Delaware, Michigan and Ohio.

Still, the forecasted averages are much higher than 2020, except for corn production in Delaware and Maryland, which is expected to drop, and soybean production and yield in New Jersey, which is also going to be lower.

Record corn yields are forecasted for Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and soybean yield records are expected to be broken in Maryland, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.


Marlo D. Johnson, director of the USDA-NASS Great Lakes Regional Office, which covers Michigan, says favorable temperatures and adequate rains pushed predicted corn yields up 5 bushels from August to 174 bushels per acre, 20 bushels more than last year and an all-time high.

Ohio corn and soybean producers also anticipate record-breaking yields, says Cheryl Turner, state statistician of the USDA-NASS Ohio Field Office. Buckeye State farmers anticipate harvesting 3.38 million acres of corn, 80,000 acres more than last year, but 40,000 less acres of soybeans — 4.83 million acres.

Ohio farmers are expected to harvest 190 bushels per acre, an all-time record but down 3 bushels from the August forecast.

Soybean yield is forecast at 58 bushels per acre, unchanged from August and also a record high, but production has been adjusted down.

Corn and soybean yields are expected to hit record highs in Pennsylvania, and overall production is higher. But total harvested acreage for both crops is down double digits.

Corn yields are expected to average a record-high 167 bushels, up 21% from last year, with overall production 5.2% higher than 2020. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 870,000 acres, down 13%.

Soybean production is forecast at 29.6 million bushels, up 2% from 2020, with yields expected to average a record-high 52 bushels per acre, up 13%. But total harvested acres — 570,000 — are down 10% from last year.

Corn and soybean yields will likely break records in the Empire State. Corn production is forecast at 83.5 million bushels, up 4%, while yields are expected to average 167 bushels, a record and up 6.3% from 2020. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 500,000 acres, down 10,000 acres from last year.

Soybean production is forecast at 17 million bushels, up 7% from last year, while yield is forecast to average 53 bushels, up 3.92% and a record. Area for harvest is forecast at 320,000 acres, up 8,000 acres from 2020.

The Ida question

The remnants of Hurricane Ida dumped lots of rain in eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and southern parts of New York at the beginning of the month. Since the survey covers crop conditions as of Sept. 1, the storm’s effects are likely not reflected in the report, so yields and overall production might be lower.

National view

Corn production for grain is forecast at 15 billion bushels, up 2% from the previous forecast and up 6% from 2020.

Based on conditions as of Sept. 1, yields are expected to average 176.3 bushels per acre, up 1.7 bushels from the previous forecast and up 4.3 bushels from last year. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 85.1 million acres, up 1% from the previous forecast and up 3% from 2020.

Soybean production is forecast at 4.37 billion bushels, up 1% from the previous forecast and up 6% from 2020. Yields are expected to average 50.6 bushels per acre, up 0.6 bushels from the previous forecast and up 0.4 bushels from 2020.

Area harvested is forecast at 86.4 million acres, down less than 1% from the previous forecast, but up 5% from 2020.

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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