Agriculture

Fall harvest just keeps getting bigger

The state’s corn crop is expected to grow 14 percent this year, which may drive grain prices even lower.
The state’s corn crop is expected to grow 14 percent this year, which may drive grain prices even lower. File photo

Kansas farmers have started to harvest corn in the past week or so – and it looks as if they may be cutting for a while.

The state’s corn and soybean crops, already projected to set records, are now estimated to come in even larger than previously thought, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates.

The USDA now estimates that timely and plentiful rains in the spring and summer will push the state’s corn harvest to 687 million bushels, 18 percent above last year’s harvest and 4 percent higher than its own month-old estimates.

It also estimates the state’s soybean harvest at 181 million bushels, 22 percent higher than last year and 10 percent ahead of the month-old estimate.

Nationally, the USDA lowered its estimate of the U.S. corn crop by less than 1 percent, while it raised its estimate of the national soybean crop by 3 percent.

Experts have been factoring in bumper crops for corn and soybeans since mid-June, which pushed prices down steeply. Since early August, prices have bounced around at low levels.

Monday’s crop estimates won’t change thinking, or prices, very much, said Darin Newsom, a senior analyst with DTN.

There was already a lot of skepticism about the USDA’s August forecast for record corn production, he said. September’s pullback confirmed that.

And for soybeans, he said, the size of the harvest won’t have much impact because the demand is so strong that it will be absorbed, leaving a relatively small stockpile.

Dan Voorhis: 316-268-6577, @danvoorhis

Kansas corn

Area

2015 harvest (bushels)

2016 harvest (est.)

% increase

South central

71.3 million

83.2 million

17

Entire state

580.2 million

687.1 million

18

Kansas soybeans

Area

2015 harvest (bushels)

2016 harvest (bushels)

% increase

South central

19.6 million

22.6

16

Entire state

148.6 million

180.8 million

22

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

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