Central, Southeast Iowa Corn Yields Below Average, Tour Shows

Corn yields across the central and southeastern fields in Iowa, the biggest U.S. grower, are smaller than average as rain in June damaged ear development, field inspections showed.

Yields measured in six fields from Ames to Mount Pleasant, Iowa, averaged 173.3 bushels an acre, inspections during an annual Midwest crop tour run by Doane Advisory Services Co. showed. That’s 2.6 percent below the average of 177.9 bushels from 2007 to 2011, and up from an average of 139.5 last year, when drought damaged crops.

“Smaller ear size limits the crop’s ability to reach full yield potential,” Marty Foreman, a senior economist for St. Louis-basedDoane, said from the tour in Mt Pleasant, Iowa. Observations of historicaly high-plant population “leaves the potential for above-average yields with normal weather in August and September,” he said.

Soybean yields averaged 49.5 bushels an acre in the area measured today. That’s up 6.5 percent from the average in the five years ended 2011 of 46.5 bushels.

“Soybean fields in central Iowa were some of the best we saw this week in Iowa,” said Bill Nelson, a senior economist from Doane.

Corn prices fell to a 33-month low today in Chicago, and soybeans tumbled to the lowest since February 2012 on speculation that rain and cool weather will aid crops in the Midwest. The declines may reduce food prices and costs for producers of livestock feed and ethanol. U.S. farmers will harvest a record 13.95 billion bushels of corn and 3.42 billion bushels of soybeans, the Department of Agriculture estimates.

The U.S. is the world’s largest grower of both crops. The government will release its first field-based estimates of production on Aug. 12.

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