1:39pm

Wed September 12, 2012
Agriculture

Despite The Rain, USDA Predicts Smaller Corn Harvest

The US Department of Agriculture has slightly lowered its forecast for the nation’s drought damaged corn crop, from 123 bushels per acre last month to 122.8 bushels.

But Colorado’s corn farmers are still playing a larger than average role in this year’s harvest.

Nationwide, farmers planted about 96 million acres of corn this year. This month’s USDA forecast predicts total production for the season will be 10.7 billion bushels –the lowest yield since 1995. While the drought has hurt Colorado’s corn crop, the President of Colorado Corn, Mark Sponsler, remains confident the state’s growers will fare better than in other parts of the country.

“Colorado...western Nebraska are going to play an even bigger role than average in meeting the nation’s corn demand needs.” 

Sponsler expects the price of corn to hover around the 'upper seven dollar range' until the market gets a better sense or how much corn is actually harvested.

"We're on the front end of it right now, just the beginning of it. So over the next four weeks we'll get a better feel for how much demand will be curbed from the two primary markets, livestock feeding and energy production. So we'll get a pretty good feel of how it balances out over the next few months."

And different areas of the state should see different yields. According to Sponsler, corn growers on the Western Slope should be less affected by the drought because their irrigation sourcing has been very well developed over the last several decades.

Nearly 1.4 million acres of corn was planted in Colorado this year, and Sponsler says the drought has pushed up the state’s harvest. Typically harvest starts in mid-September to late-October. However, this year the harvest should becompletely finished by mid-October.