U.S. average corn yield was estimated today at 169.5 bushels per acre, down from last year's record 174.6. This is the first report of the year based on actual survey results rather than the previous 170.1 bushels trend yield used in earlier WASDE projections.
Yield projections were generally higher than last year in the south and east, and lower in the central and western Corn Belt. North Dakota and South Dakota saw the largest projected decrease in average yield from last year at 37 and 21 bushels, respectively. Alabama saw the largest increase in average yield at plus 45 bushels per acre.
Based on the new yield estimates, American farmers are projected to produce a total corn crop of 14.2 billion bushels in 2017, down 995 million bushels from last year's record 15.1 billion bushels. This new crop production estimate is 100 million bushels lower than the July projection.
"Frankly, this is not great news for corn farmers. We have seen significant weather issues this year starting with excessive rains that impacted planting and now significant drought hitting several areas including the central and northwest Corn Belt states," said National Corn Growers Association President Wesley Spurlock. "Despite this smaller crop, the overall corn supply remains large due to last year's crop. When you combine the drought, current low prices, and little growth in demand, many farmers will feel the economic impact."
Feed and residual use and export demand were both lowered 25 million bushels in the 2017-18 marketing year, resulting in a 50 million bushel increase in carry-out. Average farm price held steady at $3.30 per bushel, significantly below most producers' cost of production.