Writer: Tobie Blanchard (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALEXANDRIA, La. – Under a baking sun, Louisiana’s corn crop is drying down and ready for harvest. On the stalks are large ears of corn. LSU AgCenter corn specialist Ronnie Levy said this signals the potential for another bumper crop.
“Right now we’re looking at another record yield. Last year was a record yield, and we may surpass that,” Levy said.
Last year farmers averaged around 170 bushels per acre. Farmers who have started harvesting their early corn are reporting yields as high as the 190s and 200s.
Levy said conditions were favorable during much of the growing season.
“We got timely rains through most of the state,” Levy said. “Where we didn’t get rain we had a lot of irrigation. But the wet conditions early and the cooler conditions early contributed to a little better corn crop than we’ve seen in previous years.”
The downside is current corn prices are down significantly from 2012, according to Kurt Guidry, LSU AgCenter economist. The reasons include slower growth in ethanol production, low cattle numbers and increased competition in the world export market.
“While the condition of the U.S. corn crop continues to show favorable yield potential, the slow progression of planting earlier this year from adverse weather conditions has left this crop about a week to two weeks later in its development than normal,” Guidry said.
“Anytime the development of a crop is pushed back for any reason, it leaves it more vulnerable to late-season issues like pests, disease and adverse weather conditions,” Guidry said.
Should the Midwest experience an early season frost or freeze, for example, that would keep prices from falling too much further, Guidry said. However, should the market experience the size of crop currently being projected, prices could move even further down.
“There are some things that cause a downward shift in price. We’re hoping that we’ll see higher prices come back up again,” Levy said.
Louisiana’s corn harvest will likely continue through August and into early September. The state has about 700,000 acres of corn, a significant increase over recent years.