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October WASDE to Show Reduced US Corn and Soy Yields, Gro Predicts

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The USDA will lower its US corn and soybean yield estimates in Wednesday’s WASDE report, according to Gro’s in-season yield forecast models. Throughout this year’s growing season, as hot, dry weather baked the Corn Belt, Gro’s US corn and soybean yield forecast models, which update daily, have been pointing to lower yields versus the USDA’s forecasts. 

For the last six years, Gro’s US Corn Yield Forecast Model has been within 1.7% of the USDA final January report 4 months in advance. Our US Soybean Yield Forecast Model has been within 0.8% of the USDA’s final number 4 months in advance for the last three years.

Historically, for US corn, when there has been a yield drop in September, as there was last month, further declines are seen in the USDA’s October report, and the subsequent final January report. For soybeans, our analysis shows that when September yields declined in two  out of the last three years, additional reductions followed during the next few months. 

Aside from the lower yields expected in Wednesday’s report, freezing temperatures could negatively impact US corn and soybean yields in this year’s remaining WASDE reports, thus further reducing new US supplies.  

Across much of the Midwest, temperatures are expected to drop below freezing through Sunday. This is problematic for the region’s corn and soybean crops, which are at varying stages of maturation ahead of this month’s harvests. 

For corn, 66% of North Dakota’s corn crop was rated “mature” as of October 2, and a further 77% of South Dakota’s corn crop had this rating. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, 75% and 69%, respectively, of corn crops are mature. A similar story is unfolding for the region’s soybeans. Only 11% of North Dakota’s crop and 9% of South Dakota’s has yet to reach its last stage of development ahead of harvest and “drop its leaves”. In Wisconsin, 81% of the soybean crop has dropped its leaves, while Minnesota is seen at 86%. 

View this Gro portal display to understand when states’ corn and soybean crops mature. For corn and soybeans, frost damage is proportional to crop maturity, how low temperatures go, and how long temperatures stay below freezing. Frost damage is captured in NDVI, a key input in Gro’s yield models. 

Any drop in US corn and soybean yields will likely fan concerns that the world’s 2022/23 crop cycle might not be able to replenish depleted global supplies. Unease about key agricultural commodities’ tightness has been growing on expectations of lower US and European yields, Ukraine’s export constraints, and concerns about Argentina’s upcoming crop. 

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