Nebraska farmers brought in a record 1.58 billion bushel corn crop this growing season—produced on nearly four percent fewer acres than the previous record, thanks to a record yield of 178 bushels per acre, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported.
“It is encouraging to see USDA report that corn supplies continue to grow,” said Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board.
“This despite the fact that 354,000 acres with a value of about $221 million are still standing in Nebraska fields. That, too, may be a record for January, but we certainly hope farmers have a chance to get those bushels harvested,” Hutchens said.
Nationally, USDA said farmers produced a record 13.15 billion bushels on nearly eight percent fewer acres than the previous record. National yields blew by the previous record by nearly five bushels per acre to 165.2 bushels.
Yet about five percent of the crop is still in the field—with a value of $2.29 billion. USDA said it will resurvey farmers in some states and adjust acres, yields, production and stocks estimates if necessary in its March 10 report. Nebraska will not be part of that survey.
Hutchens said it is important for farmers and grain elevators to monitor grain they have in storage to maintain quality.
“This was a crop that struggled to dry down in the field and had to be harvested with a higher moisture content than normal,” he said. “While everyone worked hard to get this done, we know there is some wet corn in bins that may require additional attention come spring.”
With corn production continuing to expand thanks to improved technology, farming practices and know-how, the need to develop and support new markets grows, too, according to Curt Friesen, a member of the Nebraska Corn Board and a farmer from Henderson.
“Nebraska is blessed with 23 operating ethanol plants, some 2.4 million head of cattle on feed, a wealth of other livestock and poultry and a solid processing sector to utilize this record corn crop,” Friesen said. “Every time a bushel of corn is used in the state, positive economic returns ripple through rural communities and the state’s economy as a whole.”
Yet without the efforts of developing and growing those markets, corn farmers and the state’s economy would suffer, said Friesen, who is chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board’s market development committee.
“Without ethanol or a livestock industry, we would be in dire straits,” Friesen said. “It takes both these markets and all the others for farmers and the state to be successful.”