FBN Corn Yield Predictions Up to 168.1 BPA

Walter Kunisch Jr.

Oct 01, 2019

On September 25, FBN released its sixth quantitative-driven corn yield assessment of the 2019 growing season. The model output provides yield estimates made at the county, region, state and national levels. FBN’s corn yield model uses crop condition metrics, weather/hydrological inputs, satellite imagery and crop development as input values. Using these inputs, FBN is predicting a +1.4 BPA increase in national yield from 166.7 BPA to 168.1 BPA.  

Both FBN corn and soybean yield updates will be available to FBN members on a consistent basis throughout the 2019/20 growing season.

Ideal weather during September has helped support late-cycle national corn yield objectives.

Compared with our previous model run conducted on September 4, FBN’s latest model run shows that the estimated late-season yield objectives for most states in both the western Corn Belt (WCB) and eastern Corn Belt (ECB) have improved. This trend toward yield stabilization and yield enhancement has been assisted by weather conditions, which since mid-August have been favorable to vegetation health, which given the late start to the 2019-20 crop year has been critical for biomass development. At FBN, we believe that the lack of extreme temperature weather values throughout August and September combined with a lack of frost developments have helped mitigate the yield-related penalties and are supportive of constructive late-period yield objectives.   

This week, the FBN corn yield model emphasizes the statistical relevance of vegetation health index as observed from satellite imagery and crop condition scores reported by the USDA. The state of the vegetation health index is suggesting that the late-maturing corn crop is still accumulating biomass, which is indicative of an immature crop but also positive for yield potential. While the yield potential in almost all key-producing states in the WCB and ECB continue to exhibit below trend tendencies for the 2019-20 marketing year, stabilization of the crop remains encouraging. FBN’s model output shows yield improvements throughout most states in the ECB and WCB.  

Despite the late-cycle yield enhancement, we believe that further stabilization can be attributed to the lack of frost risks.

Using FBN’s latest frost risk model, we believe the probability of a frost event interrupting the physiological development of the immature corn plant throughout much of the key growing regions is low. Given that FBN believes that most of the U.S. corn this year is approximately 10 days behind and the frost date for the northern states has passed, we believe that there is a low probability of biomass gains being interrupted by cold weather.


FBN’s latest corn yield model results illustrate a crop that continues to exhibit signs of stabilization and late-cycle potential. The +1.4 BPA improvement of the national yield objective from our last model run on September 4 to 168.1 BPA illustrates how ideal weather conditions and the absence of frost have have helped the late-developing corn plant. While the corn crop remains behind in terms of maturity, we believe that the recent stabilization and yield potential should help recalibrate thoughts about crop marketing. The USDA will present their updated corn yield estimate in the October WASDE on Thursday, October 10. 

Given the uncertainty about the direction of national corn yields in the October WASDE, we recommend contacting your FBN farm market advisor (FMA) for advice about how to protect farm profits headed into this critical report.

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Walter Kunisch Jr.

Oct 01, 2019