Keep it wet through most of April. Let a few people get a couple days in the field, just to whet their appetite. Then the water spicket was turned on for most of May. Chill things down at the same time. And let this weather pattern settle over most of the Corn Belt. Finally, around Memorial Day, let folks get some crops planted, but keep them from finishing just for spite. The last corn and soybeans don't go in the ground until early June. All this sounds like a recipe for cutting the trend corn yield by at least 10%!
Surprise! Instead, trend yield in Indiana was up roughly 10% for the '09 crop compared to average, notes Rich Morrison, Jacksonville, Ill., with Diversified Services. He delivered a talk on marketing to customers of Green Consulting LLC, Franklin and Crystal Springs Grain, Franklin, during a recent meeting.
As others have documented by now, the record-setting cool stretch with moisture in summer helped corn more than make up for the later start. The result was a record high average corn yield in Indiana. Results in most other Midwestern states, all dogged by the same, frustrating weather patterns in the spring and fall, were similar.
Just how does Indiana stack up with the rest of the major corn-growing states when it comes to average yields? And are Hoosiers pushing the corn yield up compared to average over time, or are they getting bypassed by others? Morrison shared numbers with the group that paints an interesting picture.
First, the USDA estimated yield for Indiana for '09 was 171 bushels per acre. The final estimate was 5% higher than what was expected in November, and 15 bushels per acre, or 10% higher than the 5-year average. The actual USDA yield reported for Indiana in 2008 was 160 bushels per acre.
Meanwhile, in Illinois, the '09 yield was 175 bushels per acre, still higher than Indiana. But it was unchanged from the November estimate, and only a 2% decrease from 2008, when it was 179 bushels per acre.
Iowa set the pace last year with an average of 182 bushels per acre, down 1% from the November estimate, but 6% higher than the '08 average. Nebraska hauled in an impressive 178 bushels per acre on average last year, a 12% increase over the 159 bushels per acre of the five-year average. The average yield in Nebraska for 2008 was 163 bushels per acre.
Finally, take a look at Minnesota. The average yield for 2009 was 175 bushels per acre, up 9% from the five-year average of 161. The average yield in Minnesota a year ago was 164 bushels per acre.