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Perspective on Pro Farmer crop estimates

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Well-known member
Feb 11, 2005
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Good report.......but those commodity Brokers that think this added Katrina rain is going to help soybean yields have their heads up there butts. 5-7 inches of rain on a bean field at this time of the year in the South is not a good deal that increases yields.
More good???news:
USDA sees farm income down. USDA says 2005 farm income is estimated to decline 13% or nearly $11 billion to $71.8 billion from record income of $82.5 billion in 2004. USDA cited lower prices, smaller harvest and higher energy costs as reasons for the reduced estimate.
So much for the great Ag Economy!
But according to some on this board we are all selling 500 # calves for a buck twenty and higher :roll: Let's see we take 11 B $$$ out of the buying power out of the Ag deal......no big deal right AGMAN?
Let's see we have the highest operations cost of all time and corn in Iowa at a buck fifty @ bu! Are we in Hog Heaven!!! Hold on to your butts, cause this deal is going to make the AG Crises of the 80's (remember that one) look like a "quilting bee"!

Agweb Home > Ag Commentary
08/29: Perspective on Pro Farmer crop estimates

Chip Flory

Chore time for me isn't what it used to be when I was growing up on our eastern Iowa farm, but taking care of two horses in the morning before I head in for work gives me a little time to think about the day ahead. Each morning, stop at this spot to get a feeling for the "tone of the day" - and some attitude about agriculture and the markets.

I was thinking…

... that I hope you enjoyed my comments from the John Deere Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour last week. And now that our estimates are done, I thought I'd spend a little time talking about the thought process we went through in coming up with those estimates.

On soybeans: Obviously, our estimate on soybeans is drawing the most attention. Reason: We found good pod counts in the eastern Corn Belt, but dropped the average yield estimate from what USDA delivered as of Aug. 1. Keep this in mind: There is a correlation between pod counts and the final yield in a state, but that correlation is a moving target... and that target is moved on a day-by-day basis by the weather conditions following the Tour. For example: In 1996, we had the lowest pod counts ever taken on the Tour in the eastern Corn Belt, but the crop went on to finish with a respectable mid-30s average yield in that area. Reason: Weather conditions were perfect from the time the Tour finished.

One way to look at the correlation between pod counts and yield is to calculate (after USDA gives us the final state-by-state yields in the January Annual Production Summary) the number of bushels produced per 1,000 pods counted. There's an incredible range in that number. Looking at just the last 4 years, the lowest number of bushels produced per 1,000 pods was 24.15 bu. in Ohio in 2002. That same year, Minnesota produced 40 bu. per 1,000 pods. To make things even more difficult, Ohio last year had the highest number of bushels produced per 1,000 pods in the last four years at 41.85 bu. per 1,000 pods!

So... as you can see, there is an incredible range on how many bushels are produced per 1,000 pods... and it all comes down to seed size and the weather as the crop finishes.

Using the lowest number of bushels per 1,000 pods we've seen over the last four years, we should expect a yield of 32.1 bu. per acre in Ohio. Using the highest number of bushels per 1,000 pods we've seen over the last four years, we should expect an average yield of 55.6 bu. per acre! Using the four-year average of bushels per 1,000 pods in Ohio, we should expect an average yield of 42.5 bu. per acre. But, because we assumed the persistent dry pattern would continue into the end of the season (the hurricane could change that!!!), we went with a bushel-per-1,000 pod estimate between the lowest and the average (assuming seed size would be down slightly from average. In the end, we're estimating an average bushels per 1,000 pods of 30.5... just under the average.

Hopefully, that helps clear up some of the confusion over pod counts. We talked about that in Chore Time before the Tour started, but I guess I have to realize everybody doesn't read Chore Time!!!

On corn, we know by how much yields generated on the Tour typically miss USDA's final yield estimate. But, we pay closest attention to how much we missed by in similar years. In Illinois, for example, the best comparison year is 1995. That year was hot and dry... just not as hot or as dry as was 2005. In 1995, the Tour yield overshot the final yield in Illinois by 15.7 bu. per acre. We didn't cut that much off the Tour yield in making our estimate, but 1995 gave us the courage to go with a lower yield than estimated by USDA on Aug. 1. Again, seed size and kernel weight is the issue. We expect kernel weight to be well below average in Illinois this year, which gave us the courage to drop the Pro Farmer estimate by almost 9 bu. from the yield calculated by the Tour. We made similar adjustments (down and up) in each of the Tour states.

And for those of you that think we just "scrapped the Tour data" in generating our national average yield of 136.6 bu. per acre for corn... consider this. When we put all 1,086 samples collected in the seven Tour states into one spreadsheet, the average yield estimate was 137.3 bu. per acre. Take a little off for reduced kernel size on a slightly higher percentage of the acres than will see above-average kernel size and it's very easy to get to 136.6 bu. per acre.

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