Minnesota corn crop on pace for record yield, USDA data shows

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Minnesota is projected to have a record corn crop this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA’s crop report has Minnesota corn production forecast at 1.51 billion bushels, which would be the highest corn yield on record for the state and an increase of 20% from last year.

"It went right from day one," said Alan Kluis, who owns a corn and soybean farm in Murray County. "Normally, getting a crop planted on time and in good soil conditions sets the stage for record yields. Many of the farmers I work with had their entire corn crop planted in the month of April. Keep in mind, last year we didn’t even start to get into the field until June, so this year we got about a six-week head start."

Kluis is also managing director of Kluis Commodity Advisors, providing market expertise to the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. He said corn prices are also on the rise.

"In the last two days, we’ve put about 20 cents a bushel on the corn market, so that adds up to $300 million in additional revenue in Minnesota," Kluis said. "This is taking prices from below farmers’ cost of production closer to their cost of production, which isn’t a huge profit move for them, but it’s not as bad as it was a few days ago."

He said crops being destroyed in other states contributed to the increasing prices. He said recent storms are estimated to have destroyed up to 50 million bushels of corn in Iowa.

The University of Minnesota Extension said the storms that moved through Minnesota did not appear to produce any significant damage to crops in our state.

"Iowa’s being hurt; their yield potential is moving lower. Areas of Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado are also very critically dry, and as their crop potential goes down, the price goes up for farmers that are having good crops, like we have in Minnesota," Kluis said.

He said a successful year for farmers would be good for the entire state since agriculture is a key industry in Minnesota.

"People are able to pay their bills, possibly buy new equipment, and that income just ripples all through rural Minnesota and also the Twin Cities as we create more dollars and more wealth," Kluis said.

He said corn is currently growing five to seven days ahead of schedule.

The USDA reported 84% of corn in Minnesota is in "good to excellent" condition.

Farmers hope the weather continues to cooperate through the fall.

"If we could get one or two more rains, if I could order it and it have it spoon delivered, I would want an inch and a half of rain every seven days until the first week of September," Kluis said. "Then I’d want it warm and dry through October so the crop would dry out in the field."

The USDA also predicts Minnesota’s soybean farms will have an excellent year, with potentially the second-largest harvest on record for the state, up 25% from last year.

"What farmers want usually is a good price and a good crop, and right now, we really have excellent yield potential," Kluis said.