Indiana’s average corn yield based on the August USDA crop report estimate is 186 bushels per acre, says Greg Matli, Indiana state statistician with the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. That’s only 2 bushels off the state’s record corn yield of 188 bushels per acre set in 2014.
So when someone asked during a crop report briefing whether finding enough storage space would be an issue this fall, Matli was ready for the question. Neither he nor Chris Hurt, Purdue University Extension corn marketing specialist, believes finding storage space will be a problem in Indiana.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be piles of corn on the ground or in temporary storage facilities, especially at commercial elevators. That’s how some companies choose to handle excess seasonal capacity as a course of doing business. What it does mean is that overall, there should be enough bin space and temporary storage space for the crop.
The secret is the overall size of the crop statewide, Matli says. It’s projected to be 915 million bushels. There have been years that tickled the billion-bushel mark for corn produced in the state.
“Acres planted to corn were down this year in Indiana, with soybean acreage up,” Hurt says. “That’s the factor which is making the difference. Even though average yield will be up statewide, there was less corn planted, so as an industry, we have to find less space for the crop overall.”
This doesn’t mean the situation might not be different in specific areas. There may be pockets where yield is very good and farmers may not have as much on-farm storage space as they’d like to have. In areas that were dry at key times, there may be plenty of room.
There could also be issues in other states. One farmer in central Illinois reports conditions have been ideal in his area. He’s also blessed with excellent soils. He’s looking at 250-bushel-per-acre corn.
“We may be looking for a place to go with some of it,” he says, adding that will likely just mean commercial elevators add more big bags on the ground to handle temporary storage.