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Corn Yield Projections Higher, Supplies Still Tight

Maureen Hanson

October 15, 2021

Drought in the Midwest and crop damage from the remnants of Hurricane Ida had created dampened optimism this summer about the size of this year’s U.S. corn crop. But as the harvest season ensues, yields are surprisingly strong.

So much so, in fact, that the 2021/22 U.S. corn crop is now on pace to be the second largest on record. The National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) September 2021 Crop Production report posted an estimated total crop forecast of 14,996 million bushels, up 246 million bushels from their predictions just a month earlier.

If realized, that would make 2021/22 a bridesmaid to only the 2016/17 crop – our country’s largest ever – which totaled 15,148 million bushels.

A bigger-than-expected crop could help lessen simmering concerns about corn supply shortages heading into next year. But even with the harvest windfall, it will take time – possibly years – to restore corn supply stores in the countryside.

The most recent NASS Grain Stocks report showed that total old-crop corn stores on hand as of September 1, 2021, totaled 1.24 billion bushels, down 36% from September 1, 2020. On-farm stores were down nearly half (47%) compared to the previous year, while off-farm stocks were reduced by 28% versus a year ago.

The large crop forecast also drove corn price predictions down slightly. The 2021/22 season-average farm price now is projected at $5.45 per bushel, compared to August’s projection of $5.75. Still, that’s a healthy bump compared to prices in recent years, and the highest since 2012/13.


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