Up until the very serious storm two weeks ago, there were high expectations for the U.S. corn crop. It’s hard to fathom just how much damage was done by the derecho, but recently Pro Farmer did a crop tour and may be able to shed light on just how much damage was done.
“The damage is devastating — just to drive by those fields and see them tore up and thrashed the way they were by the wind,” says Brian Grete, editor at Pro Farmer. “The number of flat out fields that are fully flat, is limited; they’re out there, but they’re limited,” he adds.
“When we look at Iowa as a whole, our yield came in at 177.8 bu per acre, and that was down 2.8 per cent from what we found from last year, and 3.3 per cent from the three year average, there was an impact,” says Grete. The other weather factor that the western side of Iowa has been dealing with is cycles of dryness for the past six weeks. What was going to be a great corn crop in the state, is no longer.
Soybean pod counts were up 3.6 per cent from last year, and almost one percentage point up from the three year average, but the dryness that’s creeping into eastern Iowa could also mean a faltering crop.
Grete guesses that the corn prices will be down from where the USDA estimated as of August 1, not only because of the derecho, but also a wind storm and the repeating dry spells. Supply issues will remain and demand will be the big focus during harvest for the state. China may come into play for corn and soybean purchases, they’ve made some big purchases already and Grete thinks they’ll make some more purchases as their domestic supply is tight.
As for the amount of corn that might not even get combined, Grete says that anything more than a foot above the ground will be harvestable, anything below won’t be, and heights are all over the map. Corn quality might also be compromised since it’s been on the ground for a while. Furthermore, they won’t have a place to put it when it’s harvested since most silos and bins were destroyed in the storm.