Bumper crop ahead?

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Despite some heat across the Midwest, many Corn Belt farmers are sitting pretty right now. Based on conditions as of August 1, corn yields are expected to average 152.8 bushels per acre, up 3.7 bushels from last year. This would be second highest corn yield on record, behind the 160.4 bushels per acre produced in 2004. We'll need some moisture this month for soybeans, but most crop reporters are saying the crop will be above average.

Elwynn Taylor seems to be saying the same thing — just not directly. Taylor is the IowaState meteorologist as well known among farmers

for his wise-cracking presentations as he is forecasting weather.

Maybe Taylor (right) is able to take a light-hearted approach because he's realized that weather is the one piece of the farming game you can't control.

"We're all trying to manage risk, but weather is the most important factor, and it's impossible to manage,•bCrLf he says.

U.S. corn is rated good or excellent in 18 key corn states. The most recent report shows 70% good or excellent. If over 50% is rated good or excellent, statistically yields come in above trend line, says Taylor. "It means we're right in the middle of the most recent four year average,•bCrLf he explains.

The 2007 trend corn yield is 148.4 bushels per acre. Is the trend your friend? This fall, it probably will be. The bottom of that trend line is around 123, which would be considered a drought, Taylor says.

Illinois appears to be the garden spot this year, where some yields may average 200 and above.

Dodging drought

We dodged the drought bullet — again — in 2007. But that just means we're even more •overdue' next year, notes Taylor.

We've had 17 major droughts in the last 100 years, and we haven't had one since 1988, so the risk increases for 2008.

Quite often we go 12 years without a serious drought, but how often will we go 18 or 19 years? According to his stats, 23 years is the longest stretch between serious droughts; 19 years is the average.

We're due for drought.







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