OK, famine probably isn’t the best term to use, because we are not looking at famine conditions anywhere. However, the quality of the American corn crop right now varies greatly from state to state.
Kevin VanTrump wrote an excellent piece on that this morning, linked here. If agronomy is a part of your business, his is a great blog to follow.
The following chart, from the article, shows the percentage of corn crop by state that is currently rated ‘Good to Excellent’ (GD/EX) by state and dating back several years:
Iowa is on pace for a record harvest if things keep up, with their highest GD/EX rating at this point in time. Iowa is the largest corn producing state in the country. Illinois is next, followed by Nebraska, Minnesota and Indiana. By comparison, Iowa produces nearly twice as much corn as Minnesota and two and a half times the amount of corn produced in Indiana.
Illinois produces 95% the level of what Iowa produces and their crop is struggling this year. Minnesota is also on pace for a record crop and Nebraska’s is on pace to be solid. Indiana and Ohio are having a rougher go this year than in recent years, but there are areas of both states that have received ample to more than needed moisture this spring and summer.
The following image shows precipitation levels the past week:
As you can see, Iowa and most of Minnesota and Nebraska continue to receive solid precip. Over in Indiana and Ohio, the areas that have been wet this spring and summer continue to see moisture. I drew a red ‘V’ in along the area that saw solid moisture last week. I’ve also heard from some folks in Eastern Indiana and Western Ohio and they have been wondering if the harvest may need to come out earlier to avoid yield loss to disease and toxins.
We still have a ways to go before we can get a more confident read on grain drying prospects, but El Nino summers tend to be wet and favorable for excellent corn crop maturation and tend to produced solid to excellent grain dryer years. The most recent El Nino year was 2009 and that is one of the best grain drying years in the last 30 years. It’s no guarantee that this year’s grain drying will be strong, but I think it could be strong in the areas that have seen solid precip this spring and summer as the pattern looks favorable for those areas to continue to stay in the moisture.