Aug 30, 2023

2023 U.S. Corn Estimate Lowered 2.0 Bushels to 173.0 bu/ac

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The 2023 U.S. corn yield was lowered 2.0 bushels to 173.0 bu/ac and I have a neutral to lower bias going forward.

Last week's adverse weather trimmed the corn yields especially in the dryer areas of Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota. Additionally, as I indicated in my last report, the 2023 U.S. corn acreage is expected to increase as much as 500,000 acres resulting in a harvested acreage of 86.8 million acres. Therefore, the 2023 U.S. corn production is now estimated at 15.01 billion bushels.

Last week was a tough week for the crops with record high temperatures in many locations and a general lack of rainfall. It was especially hard on the crops in the dryer areas of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota. The only significant rains last week were in the far eastern Corn Belt and limited rains along the border of Iowa and Minesota late last week. Weekend rains favored southeastern Nebraska, northern Kansas, northern Missouri, southern Illinois, and southwestern Indiana.

The forecast is problematic. Dry weather is expected across the central U.S. this week and into the 6-10 day period. After a brief cool down, hotter weather is expected across the Corn Belt in the 6-15 day period. If this forecast verifies, it could essentially end the growing season in many areas of the western Corn Belt.

The conditions last week will probably result in some additional tip back and lighter kernel weight especially in the dryer areas. Nighttime temperatures were elevated last week and that could have negatively impacted some of the corn resulting in lighter kernel weights. The high temperatures probably also speeded up the corn maturity.

Premature drooping of ears have been reported in Nebraska, which is likely due to last week's hot and dry conditions. According to Megan Taylor, Aaron Nygren, and Jenny Rees (Nebraska Extension Educators, August 25, 2023), "once the ear shank bends over, the pinch point restricts the flow of carbohydrates from the plant to the ear. If the flow is completely shut off, grain fill to the ear ceases and the kernels will prematurely reach black layer. If the ear droops during early dent when the milk line is hard to differentiate, yield loss could be up to 40% if the flow of carbohydrates is completely shut off. If the ear droops at the end of the dent stage, when the milk line is close to the tip of the kernel, then yield losses could be up to 12%." A weakened ear shank increases the risk of ears dropping to the ground during high wind events.

The condition of the 2023 U.S. corn crop declined 2% last week to 56% rated good/excellent. The corn is 88% dough compared to 84% last year and 86% average. The corn is 51% dented compared to 44% last year and 49% average and the corn is 9% mature compared to 7% last year and 8% average.

Pro Farmer Crop Tour pegged the nationwide corn yield at 172.0 bu/ac compared to the USDA's August estimate of 175.1 bu/ac. Pro Farmer estimated the Nebraska corn yield at 173 bu/ac (11 bushels below the USDA), Minnesota at 175 bu/ac (8 bushels below the USDA), and Iowa at 197 bu/ac (6 bushels below the USDA). The other states were within 1-2 bushels of the USDA's August estimate.