Yields are down but prices are up as the local corn harvest approaches its end.
The 2020 harvest started early, then reportedly slowed a bit as producers ran into high moisture. However, most of it has dried down again and the harvest likely will finish up this week while temperatures in the 70s.
Now would be the time to get it done as it is supposed to turn colder next week.
In general, yields for irrigated corn reportedly is down 20 to 30 bushel per acre on average.
Rob Baar with Stratton Equity Co-op in Kirk said he heard a lot of fields falling between 195 to 220 bushel. A few were better, but the average probably be around 200 bushel.
In other areas of Yuma County and the surrounding region, the average yield might be a bit higher, but still below the usual average. Dalton Hinde of CHS/Yuma said the average probably is about 20 bushel off from normal. Nick Leiding of West Plains also estimated irrigated yields are down 20-30 bushel.
A hot and dry growing season impacted even the irrigated corn, particularly in areas where wells struggled to pull up the water.
Those same conditions made dryland corn mostly non-existent this year. Some dryland fields reportedly were harvested, but did not amount to much more than 40 bushel per acre.
On the plus side, the market has rallied significantly since August, as much as 80 cents to $1. That is combined with the “carry” on the futures dwindling, which encourages producers to sell their corn now rather than hold on to it.
Hinde said the combination of corn yields being down across the United States, and the Chinese having a major demand for corn (as well as soybeans) has helped create a current sellers market.
“The market definitely needs corn now,” he said.
Baar said, “the markets say sell it now because there is no carry for futures right now.
Leiding agreed with the rally, but noted the “carry” has normalized in recent days, and depending on what happens in the coming weeks, it might be worth holding on to some of this year’s crop.
“That’s the thing in dealing with a futures market,” he said.
The 2020 harvest was a sweet one for local sugar beet producers.
Sugar content already was strong in the early harvest in September, averaging about 17-percent sugar content.
However, the “regular” harvest that is wrapping up this week has been even sweeter.
Luke Whitehill, the region’s agriculturalist for Western Sugar, reports that it is likely a record year in regards to sugar content as there have been a prevalence of 19-percent in the beets. He predicted that when all is said and done the average will be around 18.8 percent.
“It’s hard to put a finger on it,” he said of the cause, “it’s just a real good year for sugars.”
The tradeoff is tonnage is down this year. However, no one probably is complaining as producers are paid on the pounds of sugar per acre, so it likely is going to end up being a good year for sugar beet farmers.
The beets impacted by last week’s hard freeze (overnight temperatures around zero twice early last week) are the first being hauled off to the processing plant in Fort Morgan. There are huge piles at the super station east of Yuma. The beets will hauled to Fort Morgan during the coming months.