By Todd E. Gleason
The January USDA reports have been delayed until further notice because of the government shutdown. It is expected once these numbers are released the changes in the national yields for corn and soybeans could be positive for price.
The last time USDA updated corn and soybean yields was in the month of November. Both crops saw a drop in predicted yield for the 2018 harvest. This drop has been since complicated by harvest problems. Todd Hubbs from the University of Illinois says history can sometimes be a guide to how the January Crop Production report might change. More often than not when the yields from October to November go down, the U of I commodities specialist says they drop again in January, “And what you see is when you see a yield change from November to October that is negative, we tend to see a similar change from January to November. Now it doesn’t always hold, but if that were to materialize we probably see a corn number around 177.2 bushels to the acre. I think it might be a little bit higher than that, but even if it is if we lose half to one bushel out of the current projection of 178.9, then that is really supportive for corn prices moving forward.”
Hubbs says a similar pattern holds for soybean yields. On average he says that’s been about a quarter of a bushel per acre… a little better than that actually… and if it came to fruition this year it would put the 2018 soybean yield at 51.8 bushels to the acre. That would clearly be supportive to price says Hubbs, even though the trade issues with China are continuing, “We could also see some acreage come out of both corn and soybeans as harvest was really tough in some places. Particularly out in Kansas and the southern plains. This has more implications for winter wheat seedings than it does for anything else. Right now, by my projections, I think winter wheat acreage will be down by one-point-five percent from last year’s 32.5 million acres. This may have implications for both corn and soybean acreage in the southern plains as we move into 2019 and think about what kind of acreage we will have.”
The implication being a potential increase in corn or soybean acreage in that area. USDA says it will announce the date for the release of the January reports once the government shutdown has ended.