Analysts: record yield expected, with ample rain boosting dryland crop; prices low



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STARKVILLE, Mississippi — Farmers in Mississippi may have a record year for corn.

Ample rains helped bring the yield for dryland corn close that for irrigated land, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is forecasting record yield of 180 bushels per acre, Mississippi State University analysts said.

That's four bushels higher than last year and two bushels above last month's estimate, said Brian Williams, an Extension Service agricultural economist.

"Corn prices are not as strong as in years past, so lower production costs are a real bonus for growers," Extension Service corn specialist Erick Larson said in an extension service news release. "There were some isolated cases where rain saturated soils and cloudy days in June stunted plants, restricted development and hurt productivity, but state yields will still be very good."

Williams said Greenville cash corn was recently trading at $3.51 per bushel, compared with $4.53 a year ago and $7.22 two years ago. Planting decisions for next year, like most years, are based primarily on market prices.

"When prices were so high two years ago, much of the country was in a drought, and there were fears that production would not keep up with demand," he said.

But this year is likely to set a second national record in a row: nearly 14.4 billion bushels, up from last year's 13.9 billion, according to USDA.

That's likely to drive prices down further, Williams said.

Leflore County Extension coordinator Andy Braswell said trucks are lined up at the grain elevators as the harvest progresses rapidly.

"I'm hearing about good yields in irrigated and nonirrigated fields," Braswell said. "Growers are also telling me how pleased they are with the use of moisture meters to help determine irrigation needs. These meters have really helped save them money this year."

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