After a Summer Flood the Fall Harvest Looks Promising
After much uncertainty during the cold wet spring and heavy drenching rains of early summer there was doubt on some farms if the seed would even stay in the ground. In speaking with several farmers there was a lot of replanting when some areas around the Shore received over 10 inches of rain within a few days. While these conditions may have been optimal for flooded crops like rice these were far from optimal conditions for Maryland, Delaware and Virginia grain farmers on the Shore. In the wake of these tough conditions, well timed heat in July and steady rains during the summer provided a good growing season overall. The USDA released reports last week that the latest crop surveys indicate that record or near-record production is in the field.
Overall the report stated that growing conditions for grain farmers in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia have been close to optimal and will produce high yields for corn and soybean farmers. Nearly 433,000 acres of ground were planted in Maryland for corn. Under these conditions, the average bushels per acre could reach 155, a 33 per acre bushel increase up from last year. In total this harvest could produce over 66 million bushels of corn in Maryland. This coupled with the more than 450,000 acres of soybeans planted yielding more than 20 million bushels of soybeans could produce a banner year for grain farmers in Maryland.
Virginia and Delaware farmers to the south and north look to share in this bountiful harvest. In Delaware, 174,000 acres of ground to be harvested for corn production is expected to yield 28 million bushels, while soybeans are expected to yield approximately 40 million bushels to the acre off of 158,000 acres. The state of Virginia predicts corn yields to be 42 bushels to the acre higher and soybeans to be approximately the same in 2013 from 2012 levels of 42 bushels to the acre on more than 600,000 acres of cropland in Virginia planted to soybeans.
In the United States, corn production is forecasted to eclipse 2012 yields by 28 percent with nearly 14 million bushels of corn produced. Based on surveyed conditions of August 1, the average per acre yield is expected to be 154 bushels harvested off approximately 89 million planted acres. This is up 2 percent from 2012. Soybean production is estimated to be up by 8 percent as it is forecasted to yield more than 3 billion bushels nationwide.
In the context of weakening grain prices at $4 corn and $12 beans, farm balance sheets may be equalized by the optimal growing season and potentially strong harvest this fall.