In less than a decade, U.S. corn, soybean and wheat fields wiped out an expanse of native grasslands and other ecosystems larger than the state of Maryland, according to a new analysis, destroying crucial wildlife habitat and spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The new fields produced lower crop yields than existing farmland.(No paywall)
The windstorm that blasted across Iowa — "basically a 40 mile-wide tornado," in the words of Gov. Kim Reynolds — wiped out 9 percent of the crop in the nation's No. 1 corn state and obliterated the chances for a record-large corn harvest nationwide, said the USDA. Farmers will see notably higher season-average prices for the smaller, but still ample, crop that remains in the field.
U.S. farmers are looking at their largest corn crop ever and a near-record soybean harvest, with huge stockpiles of both crops persisting into fall 2021, said the USDA on Wednesday. Some 2.8 billion bushels of corn would remain in the bin when next year's crop is mature, the largest carry-over since the Reagan era.
U.S. farmers will harvest their largest corn crop ever this year, fueled by the largest plantings since 2013 — growing so much corn that carry-over stocks will be the largest in more than three decades, according to USDA's projection at its annual Ag Outlook Forum. The soybean crop would be the fourth-largest on record, with exports recovering to pre-trade-war levels thanks to "increasing global import demand, particularly for China."
With a return to normal weather, farmers will expand vastly their corn and soybean plantings next year — enough to produce their largest corn crop ever and the fourth-largest soybean crop, according to USDA's agricultural projections. Bumper crops will drive down market prices in the near term and create huge stockpiles that will take years to whittle down.
Aided by the Sino-U.S. trade war, the U.S. soybean inventory doubled to a record 913 million bushels in one year, the government said on Thursday. At the same time, the USDA estimated that total will be cut in half by next September.
A hard freeze is forecast across a significant portion of the western Corn Belt, with 14 percent of the U.S. corn crop and 5 percent of the soybean crop at risk of freeze damage, said forecaster Maxar on Wednesday.
In FERN's latest story, Michael Behar takes a close look at precision agriculture — cutting-edge tools like drones, satellite imagery and artificial intelligence that help farmers keep careful watch over their crops. In addition to improving yields, Behar shows how the technology also allows farmers to reduce water and chemical use. The story was produced in collaboration with EatingWell magazine.(No paywall)
Farmland values are falling for the fifth year in the Midwest, and one factor in the decline is “muted expectations for farm income” this year, said the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank on Thursday. “The profitability of many corn and soybean farms will almost surely fall from their 2018 levels — possibly by a lot for some.”