A record 3.8 billion bushels of soybeans is projected to be produced this year.
A record 3.8 billion bushels of soybeans is projected to be produced this year.
WASHINGTON — Revised planted acreage and grain stocks numbers were plugged into the supply and demand balance sheet, providing fodder for the market bears.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture projected soybean production at a record 3.8 billion bushels, up 165 million from last month’s estimate due to increased harvested area. Harvested area, forecast at 84.1 million acres in the June 30 acreage report, is 3.6 million above the previous forecast.

The soybean yield is estimated at 45.2 bushels per acre, unchanged from last month.

Corn production is projected at 75 million bushels lower than last month based on harvested acres from the June 30 acreage report.

The national average corn yield remains projected at a record 165.3 bushels per acre. At the projected 13.860 billion bushels, this year’s crop remains just 65 million bushels below last year’s record.

Winter wheat production is forecast at 1.37 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the June 1 forecast and down 11 percent from 2013.

Based on July 1 conditions, the U.S. wheat yield is forecast at 42.2 bushels per acre, down 0.2 bushel from last month and down 5.2 bushels from last year.

The all wheat area expected to be harvested for grain or seed totals 32.4 million acres, unchanged from last month’s acreage report, but up slightly from last year.

The USDA increased the average wheat yield estimate in Illinois by one bushel to 67 bushels per acre compared to the June report over 690,000 acres.

Indiana’s average wheat yield remained at 68 bushels per acre on 360,000 acres.

Agronomists’ Viewpoints

This month’s production report did not include the state-by-state breakdown for corn and soybeans, but a pair of agronomists in Illinois noted a range of crop conditions in their travels.

“The McLean County area, west of Peoria and south of Springfield is some of the best stuff I’ve seen. In the Livingston County area around Pontiac, I think the crop looks fantastic where we don’t have wind damage on the corn,” said Jason Webster, Beck’s Hybrid’s Central Illinois Practical Farm Research director.

He believes that most of the wind-damaged corn will recover and pollinate.

“In general, I think the corn crop looks good. We do have a few problem areas,” he said.

“Iroquois County is probably some of the poorest corn I’ve seen just because of all the water damage. We have some fields that are going to be limited in yield potential just because there are too many drowned-out areas and the corn is hurting too bad.”

Soybean development in Iroquois County also is behind, and Webster recently saw some fields that were yet to be planted due to the wet conditions.

He also said he has seen little disease pressure in corn thus far.

“I think we’re setting the stage up for a pretty large crop, but we do have those areas where there are going to be some challenges,” he said.

Disease Concerns

Robert Beck, Winfield Solutions regional agronomist, said the corn planted the first two weeks of April in Illinois is well on its way toward the R2, R3 growth stages, as of July 10, and looks good.

“One of the things we’re just starting to pick up with this weather pattern is a little bit of gray leaf spot and a little bit of northern corn leaf blight,” he said.

Despite the possibility of disease, Beck said he hasn’t seen many aerial applications of fungicides, possibly due to the lower projected corn prices.

“This may turn out to be one of those years where we’ve got that disease potential, and a foliar fungicide could give you 15-, 20-bushel kind of response,” he said.

“Over the last few years, it was a five- to 10- (bushel response) at best, and this could set up to be that.

“Corn is in a real good place. We ought to be protecting it. If they’re not, they need to take a look at it.”

Soybeans Behind

Beck noted the unevenness of the soybean development.

“The soybeans that got planted at the end of April and first of May looks very uniform are very robust. We had canopy closure early. We started flowering earlier. The later stuff that got caught up in the rains is very much struggling because of the excess moisture, and they’re just not coming out of it,” he said.

“There’s plenty of moisture out there, but I think they’re suffering from it. Those early planted fields look really good, and the late planted fields don’t look so good, so I’m not as high on the soybean crop right now as I am on the corn.”