As an ag journalist, a vital part of my job is to continually monitor trends, outlooks and projections that can impact the agricultural community. And you do the same thing…you monitor weather forecasts to decide whether or not to hit the fields, or you might monitor price forecasts to help you decide to hedge your crop.
Of course, forecasts can be wrong. But, taken as a whole, it is very difficult to make major decisions about your farm without having some idea of what may happen in the future.
One of the most watched, and most important, forecasts for agriculture is yield estimates. And while there is no shortage of experts willing to offer you their opinion, the one that everyone watches is the USDA. And Tuesday, the May World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates indicated that we will be in for a very busy fall.
According to the report, “Corn production for 2012/13 is projected at a record 14.8 billion bushels, up 2.4 billion from 2011/12. A projected 5.1-million acre increase in harvested area and higher expected yields, compared with 2011/12, sharply boost production prospects. The 2012/13 corn yield is projected at a record 166.0 bushels per acre, 2.0 bushels above the 1990-2010 trend, reflecting the rapid pace of planting and emergence.”
Of course, a lot can happen between now and harvest. And I know that no producer is banking on record yields this early. But if this holds true, the pressure at harvest will be immense to get this very large crop in from the field.
This will also put huge pressures on equipment. More crop means more hours in the field, so it will be imperative that everything in your harvest system is in top working order. Because harvest will be here before you know it.
When do you start your harvest preparation?