USDA REPORT: Drought Takes Toll On Crop Yields
Iowa farmers knew the crop outlook wouldn’t be good, but today’s USDA report is even worse than expected. The new forecast shows corn yields are down 20 bushels per acre and the ongoing drought is to blame.
“For what it’s been through, it still looks pretty good,” says Melvin Ingram of Prairie City.
As a third generation farmer, Ingram knows looks can be deceiving.
“It’s got to be hurt because of the heat we had last week. We’re right in pollination time,” he says.
Many farmers fear the hot, dry weather has already done its damage.
“What’s going to happen to demand and how is bad is the yield ultimately gonna get? Of course we don’t know that because we don`t know when it’s going to rain,” says Tomm Pfitzenmaier, a senior analyst with Summit Commodity Brokerage.
Pfitzenmaier says you don’t have to talk to too many farmers for very long to figure that “things are going backwards pretty fast for them.”
Today, the USDA confirmed what Iowa farmers are seeing in the field. The agency predicted a significant drop in corn yields. Analysts says farmers will only produce 146 bushels per acre. The original forecast was 166 an acre.
“It’s probably going to mean higher food costs because you’re gonna see meat prices go up and anything that’s associated with corn and soybeans is probably go up. So for the consumer there’s going to be a toll there too,” says Pfitzenmaier.
Ingram and other farmers are holding out for rain.
“We`ve been blessed through here for several years with good crops so we’re probably past due for a problem,” says Ingram.
While his crop isn’t in the best shape, Ingram knows he’s better off than other farmers in the corn belt.
“It can always be worse,” he says.
The USDA lowered soybean yields as well, but farmers say bean crops still have time to recover. While now is the critical time for corn, they should know next month how soybeans are faring.