September 26, 2011 | Jackie Roembke
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Harvest 2011’s Winners and Losers

Yields a mixed bag

By the time this issue hits the streets, the 2011 harvest will be in full swing. Elevators in some areas will take in record volumes; others, however, will experience the diminished returns resulting from Mother Nature's bipolar regional spring and summer weather. With the numbers from the USDA's questionably optimistic June Crop Report dramatically dropping from its original estimates, the commodity market has mirrored this uncertainty.

By today's estimate, the national average corn yield is forecast to be 148.1 bushels per acre, 16.3 bushels below the 2009/2010 crop year and the lowest since 2005/06.

While yields may not break any records, corn prices over $6/bushel, and soybean pushing past $12/bushel, the lucky producers who experienced the best conditions are looking forward to a big pay day. In Iowa, according to the Des Moines Register, producers are poised to pull in more than $20 billion — the largest cash harvest in the state's history.

In contrast, farmers in the Southwest are preparing for a weak second harvest after heat and drought diminished the wheat harvest this spring. For the crops that grew, the corn didn't produce head, and the soybeans without pods — many abandoned the fields altogether. In these cases, reliance on federal crop insurance will ease the burden, but will not replace expected profit.

U.S. exports in the coming year will also suffer. The World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, USDA projected wheat, corn, and soybean total exports in the coming crop year (2011/12) to be 4.09 billion bushels, 12% lower than the 2010/11 crop year. The organization's production projections for the new crop of wheat, corn, and soybeans are 17.7 billion bushels, a 2% reduction from last year.

Utlimately we will all have to wait to see the end results of what was a prosperous year for some, and a devasting year for others. Please feel free to contact me at jackie.roembke@feedandgrain.com to report your harvest experience this year and how it has impacted your business and the business of your producer customers.

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