FBN’s Corn Yield Forecast Points to Record Potential

Kevin McNew

Jun 29, 2020

The 2020 growing season has had a mostly ideal start. Plenty of spring soil moisture, a fast start to planting and plenty of short bouts of early heat to push the crop along have all added to good conditions for corn. 

FBN’s first model-based assessment of the 2020 crop year for U.S. corn yield puts the crop at 179.5 bushels per acre.

Get advanced yield forecasts ahead of the USDA

That’s above USDA’s latest forecast of 178.5 and would represent a new record high on a previous record of 176.6 in 2017.

Variables included were yield trend, planting progress, USDA crop condition ratings, temperature and precipitation so far this growing season. Early planting combined with a warm June has helped with good crops so far, but precipitation will be key going forward. 

Most western Corn Belt states are tending dry, but a storm track is expected to bring a wide swath of rain to the northern Plains and western Corn Belt between June 30 and July 2. Meanwhile, Indiana is seeing dry conditions start to take hold, and that is having an impact on yield potential. 

Besides temperature and precipitation, another key contributor to the yield forecast has been the percentage of crops in good-to-excellent condition in USDA surveys. Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota are showing greater than 80 percent crops in good-to-excellent condition, whereas Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Missouri are in the low 60s percentage.

FBN's take on what it means for the farmer

This week saw prices trace out new lows with December down to $3.25, a very real reminder of the large crop. FBN does think there are enough wildcards yet to bank on record yields, but any rally potential will be limited by demand-side struggles.

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Kevin McNew

Jun 29, 2020