Pro Farmer warns that US corn harvest hit hard after storm

Advisory service Pro Farmer says that chances of a record US corn crop have been dashed after severe derecho storm.
calendar icon 24 August 2020
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Reuters reports that Pro Farmer, a division of Farm Journal Media, has doused hopes for a record US corn crop on 21 August after a severe wind storm and drought cut yield potential in Iowa.

Following a crop tour of seven top producing states, Pro Farmer projected that farmers would harvest a corn crop of 14.820 billion bushels based on an average yield of 177.5 bushels per acre and a soybean crop of 4.362 billion bushels based on an average yield of 52.5 bushels per acre.

Both soy and corn forecasts were below the latest estimates from the US Agriculture Department, though the corn crop would be the second-largest ever and soy would be the third-largest if Pro Farmer's projections are realised.

A key reason the corn forecast is lower is due to crop scouts' findings in Iowa, the top US corn producer. Iowa crop conditions this year have struggled with drought conditions and the 10 August derecho storm that sent hurricane-like winds and hail across the centre of the state.

Some veteran crop scouts were shocked by the severity of damage. A fermented, or sour, smell was beginning to waft from some fields where corn stalks were broken and corn kernels littering the ground began to spoil, scouts said.

"It's not going to be fun for these guys come harvest time," said Brian Grete, director of the tour’s eastern half.

Without the drought and storm, the state's corn crop would have been massive, Pro Farmer officials said late Thursday.

Dry conditions throughout the state are pushing the crop to maturity and storm winds flattened crops across a wide swath in central Iowa, Pro Farmer said Friday 21 August.

"Some of that corn will be harvested, but further yield loss is likely between now and then," Pro Farmer said in its forecast.

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