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USDA predicts positive numbers for national corn and soybean crops in 2015

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Corn and soybean crops in the United States are seeing near records this year, according to USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey.

Corn production

“Estimates from USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) indicate that we should see record-high corn production in seven North Central states. Expected yields are 167.5 bushels per acre and 13.6 billion bushels for the U.S.,” Rippey commented during a Central U.S. Climate Outlook webinar on Sept. 17.

As of mid-September, more than two-thirds of the national corn crop was rated as good to excellent, as it has been for most of the year.

“Although, we do have degraded conditions across the southern Corn Belt states, stretching from Kansas to Ohio,” he noted.

Dry weather in August negatively affected some of those areas, and Rippey explained, “Ordinarily, this probably wouldn’t have been a problem, but given the antecedent wetness, late planting, shallow rooting and other factors, the dryness did become a little bit of a problem.”

Drought was a minimal problem, though, for corn throughout the summer. Through the months of June, July and August, drought percentages in corn production areas remained at or below the five percent mark.

Condition, maturity

“In 2014 and 2015, we have some pretty similar patterns in corn condition, staying pretty steady throughout the growing season. The one difference is that things were a little bit more perfect last year with conditions staying in the 70 percent range of good to excellent,” he mentioned.

As of Sept. 13, 35 percent of corn was rated as mature in the United States, slightly behind the five-year average of 40 percent for that date.

“Michigan, Iowa and Missouri are the furthest behind with respect to the five-year average for corn maturity in mid-September,” Rippey stated.

Illinois, on the other hand, is above the five-year average for corn maturation at 61 percent.

“The corn harvest got underway in mid-September,” Rippey added.


Moving on to soybeans, Rippey noted that the crop encountered more difficulties than corn across the lower Midwest.

“Missouri was probably the hardest hit, as there was some significant reduction in acreage from land that could not be planted due to wetness,” he commented.

Kentucky, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota, on the other hand, will likely see record soybean production this year.

“If we put the whole picture together, it looks like our soybean yield and production will both be second highest on record, only behind 2014,” Rippey stated.

At the beginning of the season, national soybean conditions were similar to 2011 and 2013.

“Unlike those two years, conditions held roughly steady, so we have ended up with a season of mid- to low 60s for percent of good to excellent. That’s below the record that was set last year when we had record production and yield numbers but far better than the drought year of 2012,” he mentioned.

In some states such as Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, soybean crop conditions are reported as high as 75 to 80 percent good to excellent.


“National soybean production is forecast at 3.9 billion bushels in 2015, compared to the record of 3.97 billion bushels set last year,” Rippey continued.

Soybeans appear to be maturing early across the upper Midwest, decreasing the chances of frost challenges this year, although there are some delays in maturation in some areas that have experienced cooler, wetter weather.

“We are seeing North Dakota lead the Midwest in soybeans dropping leaves at 68 percent maturity, well ahead of schedule,” he noted.

As the summer comes to a close, Rippey estimated that, overall, conditions will favor corn and soybean production in the United States for 2015.

Natasha Wheeler is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be contacted at

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