Home 5 Ag Stories Corn acres still a mystery for 2019

Corn acres still a mystery for 2019

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Any estimate of the 2019 corn crop, made throughout the next month, is likely to be wrong. 

The acreage number assigned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in June was 91.7 million acres. Everyone considers that to be about eight- to 10 million acres too high. 

Yield is anyone’s guess, as the crop has not been through pollination, even though rain and heat forecasts for July and August look favorable.

Frustration is the key word from farmers, analysts and even government officials.

The Department of Agriculture will resurvey farmers, which will be critical to determining the size of this year’s expected crop. John Newton, American Farm Bureau Federation chief economist, says the updated information will provide needed market direction

“It’s critically important that we get updated information on the acreage,” Newton said. “There’s much uncertainty on what the crop size this year is ultimately going to be, and prices are trying to find a balancing point. So, that August report that includes the re-interview estimates should include lower corn acres. Once we get an updated yield estimate, we’ll have a better idea what the crop size is.”

USDA data, in the recent June acreage report, estimated corn acres at 91.7 million, much higher than anticipated.

“Everyone had anticipated USDA to have a lower acreage number in this report due to the prevent planting number. Undersecretary Northey has been on record (and said) that prevent plant could be a record 10 million acres this year. That’s why that number was so surprising and led to the dramatic drop in corn prices,” Newton said. 

Newton says states in the USDA resurvey areas still have many challenges.

“Most of the states report that the crop in the ground has been growing in pretty sloppy conditions, so there’s potential for yield drag. They also report a lot of idle acres, acres that have yet to be planted; many folks are done trying to plant a crop this year. And that’s the ground-level perspective from our Farm Bureau members,” Newton said.