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Corn yield forecast for Wisconsin low despite recent rain

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Despite improved weather conditions in recent weeks, the latest corn production forecast for Wisconsin dropped two bushels per acre from August's forecast.

The September yield forecast for state corn issued Wednesday by the National Agriculture Statistics Service was set at 130 bushels per acre. That would be 26 bushels lower than last year's yield.

The forecast backs up claims by area farmers that the rain that fell in August came too late to help the crops in the southern part of the state that were ravaged by what some farm experts believe is the worst drought since 1988.

Much of the corn suffered because it didn't get rain during the critical pollination phase that fills the ears with grain. "The rain came after that, and there just aren't kernels out there" in some ears, said Steve Stockdale, a statistician for NASS' Wisconsin office.

The northern part of the state is expecting better production because some areas did receive beneficial rain, and that has kept the overall state forecast numbers from plummeting lower, Stockdale said.

Nationally, NASS' corn production forecast dropped one-half bushel from August's forecast to an average of 122.8 bushels per acre, which is 24.4 bushels below the 2011 average. In the upper Midwest, every state but Minnesota is forecasting much lower yields this year.

Landmark Cooperative Services agronomist Joe Speich said he believes the average corn yield in the Madison area will be around 100 bushels per acre. "It depends on where you go. I have some areas at zero and some areas at 30 or 40 (bushels per acre)," Speich said. "It's a challenge, that's for sure."

The NASS state crop report issued Monday showed that 38 percent of the corn crop has already been harvested for silage, compared with just 13 percent at this point last year. The 10-year average is 16 percent for this time of year, the report said.

The report also said that, in Dane County, a fifth cutting of hay "won't yield much" because of dry conditions.

Speich said farmers are taking the same attitude as a ball club going through a losing season. "They can't wait for next year," he said. "Everybody will be happy when the crop is off the field. Then they can move forward."

Meantime, the NASS soybean forecast for the state remained the same as August's forecast at 36 bushels per acre. The national average forecast is for 35.3 bushels per acre, down 0.8 bushels from last month and down 6.2 bushels from last year.

This index uses temperature and rainfall data in a formula to determine dryness and seasonal drought.
Click map for details. Data updated weekly.
Extreme Severe Moderate Normal Unusual Very Extreme
-4.0 or less -3.0 to -3.9 -2.0 to -2.9 -1.9 to +1.9 +2.0 to +2.9 +3.0 to +3.9 +4.0 or more
Palmer Drought Severity index
Corn is grown on over 400,000 farms in the United States, which is, by far, the largest producer of corn in the world. Click map for details.
-20% or less -6 to -19% -5 to +5% +6 to +19% +20% or more No data
Corn grain yield: Nov. 2012 forecast
Soybeans are used to create a variety of products, the most basic of which are soybean oil, meal, and hulls. Click map for details.
-20% or less -6 to -19% -5 to +5% +6 to +19% +20% or more No data
Soybean yield: Nov. 2012 forecast
SOURCES: National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center; United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Graphics by Laura Sparks and Chris Keller.

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