INDIANAPOLIS — The stage is set for a bountiful corn and
soybean harvest, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest crop
report, which was reviewed by a panel of experts at the Indiana State Fair.
U.S. corn production is up 28 percent and soybean production
up 8 percent from 2012, according to the report. Winter wheat production is down
6 percent from 2012.
Agronomists and economists from Purdue University and
representatives from the USDA and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture
met at the Farm Bureau building to talk about the crop predictions and what they
mean for Hoosiers.
“This year, we have a 13.8-billion-bushel corn crop — that’s
a new record production for the United States,” said Greg Matli, state
statistician. “These are good, hard numbers.”
The corn yield prediction was 154.4 bushels per acre, the
highest average yield since 2009, followed by 2004.
The national soybean yield is estimated to be 3.26 billion
bushels. If this number is true, it would be the third-largest crop on
“It’s just wonderful to get back to something closer to
normal here in the Midwest,” said Chris Hurt, Purdue Extension economist. “It’s
really important to this state, it’s really important to agriculture and it’s
really important to the world.”
According to Hurt, farm incomes are likely to go down due to
the decrease in crop prices.
“Big crops bring lower prices,” he said. “This says farm
incomes will go down. The good news is they’ve been at record-high levels. It’s
not a horrible fall. It’s not a collapse in farm incomes. It might be more like
the farm incomes we were seeing 2006 up to about 2008.”
Hurt said that Indiana and the U.S. are positioned well to
have successful exports this year if the crop turns out as the report predicts.
“I would say quality this year is overall very good,” he
said. “We’re going to have much lower prices. We’re really going to have
something to talk to our foreign buyers about.”
The lower prices also will benefit consumers in the
“It’s going to help start to moderate some of our basic food
ingredient prices,” Hurt noted. “Starting with baking and cereal products
related to wheat, corn, barley, oats and other cereal products.”
The economist added that raw ingredients in fats, oils, meat
and dairy products also will fall this year and into next year. He said that
while prices probably will not decrease at a retail level, there will be a lower
rate of inflation.
On the agronomic side, the late planting this year was one
of the main topics during the discussion.
“By itself that’s often construed as negative, but some of
us are fond of reminding growers that planting date by itself is not a great
predictor of yield,” said Bob Nielsen, Purdue Extension corn specialist.
“At least normal temperatures throughout the month of June
allowed crops to move along on development and not get any further behind.
Today, we’re still roughly one to two weeks behind normal development in terms
Nielsen said that pollination occurred in late July for corn
and the crop has had minimal heat stress.
“To say what a difference a year makes is a pretty huge
understatement this year,” said Jay Akridge, dean of the College of Agriculture
at Purdue. “Last year, most of our state was in exceptional or extreme drought.
This summer, we’ve had almost ideal conditions.”
Akridge said the most recent numbers show 75 percent of the
corn crop and 76 of soybeans are rated good to excellent. Soil moisture across
the state was adequate.
“All of that sets up potential for a huge crop,” he said.
“There’s a lot to sort out in terms of what this crop means for our state. But
it’s just good to have a crop to talk about this year, after last year and what
we dealt with the drought.”