A panel of experts from Purdue University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture discusses the USDA’s latest crop report. It predicted there will be a national corn crop of 13.8 billion bushels, which would be the largest to date.
A panel of experts from Purdue University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture discusses the USDA’s latest crop report. It predicted there will be a national corn crop of 13.8 billion bushels, which would be the largest to date.
INDIANAPOLIS — The stage is set for a bountiful corn and soybean harvest, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest crop report, which was reviewed by a panel of experts at the Indiana State Fair.

U.S. corn production is up 28 percent and soybean production up 8 percent from 2012, according to the report. Winter wheat production is down 6 percent from 2012.

Agronomists and economists from Purdue University and representatives from the USDA and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture met at the Farm Bureau building to talk about the crop predictions and what they mean for Hoosiers.

“This year, we have a 13.8-billion-bushel corn crop — that’s a new record production for the United States,” said Greg Matli, state statistician. “These are good, hard numbers.”

The corn yield prediction was 154.4 bushels per acre, the highest average yield since 2009, followed by 2004.

The national soybean yield is estimated to be 3.26 billion bushels. If this number is true, it would be the third-largest crop on record.

“It’s just wonderful to get back to something closer to normal here in the Midwest,” said Chris Hurt, Purdue Extension economist. “It’s really important to this state, it’s really important to agriculture and it’s really important to the world.”

According to Hurt, farm incomes are likely to go down due to the decrease in crop prices.

“Big crops bring lower prices,” he said. “This says farm incomes will go down. The good news is they’ve been at record-high levels. It’s not a horrible fall. It’s not a collapse in farm incomes. It might be more like the farm incomes we were seeing 2006 up to about 2008.”

Hurt said that Indiana and the U.S. are positioned well to have successful exports this year if the crop turns out as the report predicts.

“I would say quality this year is overall very good,” he said. “We’re going to have much lower prices. We’re really going to have something to talk to our foreign buyers about.”

The lower prices also will benefit consumers in the U.S.

“It’s going to help start to moderate some of our basic food ingredient prices,” Hurt noted. “Starting with baking and cereal products related to wheat, corn, barley, oats and other cereal products.”

The economist added that raw ingredients in fats, oils, meat and dairy products also will fall this year and into next year. He said that while prices probably will not decrease at a retail level, there will be a lower rate of inflation.

On the agronomic side, the late planting this year was one of the main topics during the discussion.

“By itself that’s often construed as negative, but some of us are fond of reminding growers that planting date by itself is not a great predictor of yield,” said Bob Nielsen, Purdue Extension corn specialist.

“At least normal temperatures throughout the month of June allowed crops to move along on development and not get any further behind. Today, we’re still roughly one to two weeks behind normal development in terms of timing.”

Nielsen said that pollination occurred in late July for corn and the crop has had minimal heat stress.

“To say what a difference a year makes is a pretty huge understatement this year,” said Jay Akridge, dean of the College of Agriculture at Purdue. “Last year, most of our state was in exceptional or extreme drought. This summer, we’ve had almost ideal conditions.”

Akridge said the most recent numbers show 75 percent of the corn crop and 76 of soybeans are rated good to excellent. Soil moisture across the state was adequate.

“All of that sets up potential for a huge crop,” he said. “There’s a lot to sort out in terms of what this crop means for our state. But it’s just good to have a crop to talk about this year, after last year and what we dealt with the drought.”