After two record years, 2015 corn crop off to a good start

Published 2:54 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Following a record-breaking corn crop in 2014, this summer’s predicted corn yields are looking just as promising. U.S. and Virginia producers have seen excellent planting and weather conditions. That stands to have a specific effect on prices.

“In the grain marketing business, the key word is ‘influence’ when it comes to crop yield and pricing,” said Robert Harper, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation grain manager.

Market analysts are predicting a low price for corn for the upcoming market year, similar to that of 2014.

By May, American farmers had already planted 92 percent of their corn acreage, a generous increase over last year’s planting pace. Additionally, 2015 is an El Nino year.

“Weather models indicate average temperatures and rainfall,” Harper noted.

Locally, Southampton County Extension agent Austin Brown is encouraged by recent precipitatin.

“We have gotten some rain over the last week, which is very beneficial while corn is pollinating. Rain now is key for good yields, especially for corn,” he said.

Brown noted that some areas have been getting rain more than others.

“I hope we can maintain timely rains across the county this summer,” he said.

The most significant factor for corn yields to be as high as anticipated is the weather in July.

The U.S. began the year with a surplus of corn due to good production in 2013 and 2014. Last year’s yields totaled 14 billion bushels, which lowered corn prices significantly.

“I’ve never heard of a farmer who didn’t like rain, but they know it has effects on the market price,” Harper said.

There also is the global market to consider. According to him, South American countries and the Ukraine are big competitors.

“It’s a cycle. Prices are low due to a surplus,” Harper said. New uses for corn are likely to surface, “and the demand will go back up, as will the prices. Farmers have to maintain a balance of optimism and pessimism but end on realism.”