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Blacksandfarmer
Senior Advisor

Yield Plateau in corn?

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Looking at USDA data, should we be concerned about a yield Plateau? From the early 90's to the mid 2000s we seen a lot of yield growth. A lot of new seed and chemical technology hit the market around that time, as well as improments in tile and irrigation technology. Even if USDA finds a couple more bushels and lands at 170 bu in 2022 we still aren't moving the 5 year average much higher. 

In my area the solar companies are taking large tracts of land for solar panels. Housing chips away at farmable land all the time as well. 

So what will be the next breakthrough in corn yield? 

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10 Replies
Hobbyfarmer
Honored Advisor

Re: Yield Plateau in corn?

cold tolerant corn on the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps.

roarintiger1
Honored Advisor

Re: Yield Plateau in corn?

Peak Corn?   Oh boy. Here we go.

Blacksandfarmer
Senior Advisor

Re: Yield Plateau in corn?

I guess what I'm getting at is the yield trend seems to be going sideways, not higher. We haven't had a widespread crop failure since 2012, so we are kind of due. 

Maybe our government should be looking at this data and realize that putting good farmland under solar panels isn't very sustainable, or maybe being a little more strict in CRP requirements is needed. 

Just thinking out loud. 

BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Yield Plateau in corn?

I think you are on to something. Blacksand.  When I was a kid, my hero was Herman Warsaw down in Saybrook, Illinois growing nearly 400 bu yields while we thought 125bu was a good yield.  Then as a young farmer I sat in a group of farmers in a Lutheran church basement in Northwood Iowa listening to the great Francis Childs from Manchester Iowa.  

Today my heroes are David Hula and Randy Dowdy.  David lives by Charles City, Virginia a challenging place to grow corn.  Funny thing about David`s area he said it`s looking tough this year out there.  Seems they grow 600 bu yields or 60....Mother Nature bats last.  Lee Lubers from South Dakota as raises impressive yields for "cattle & wheat country". 

Only good farmers are left, 25 years ago many successful farmers didn`t know the difference between "P" and "K" on a soil test.  I think a good portion of yield increases came from the attrition from farmers who were content "sitting on their lead".  Those left renting $400 land have to know about P & K and the micros and how to kill weeds, keep insects and disease controlled.  If a farmer gets "50 chances at bat" during his lifetime, he can`t afford many strike outs.  

"God created climate change" has made more challenges for us.  This ol` world is 4 billion years old and has had much more tough weather than this garden party that man has had the last 100 years.  10,000 years ago most of Iowa was under a 1 mile thick sheet of ice, now it`s the best land in the world after the ice melted thanks to "God made global warming".

I`m watching a BTO in a area that I know well and the last couple years on a particular farm he has had some poor looking crops.  My guess is, his 2 boys that he is starting in farming are cutting corners with fertility, Potash is the "poorman`s irrigation" and as high as it`s been, it`s tempting to skip on.  Trouble is, like the shortest stave in a barrel that determines how much the barrel will hold.

 

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k-289
Senior Advisor

Re: Yield Plateau in corn?

Maybe  some  '' R  Ready  Rye ''  germ  plasma  would  help  - ?  ? 

  On  the  serious  side  ,  don't  those  crop  guys  on  the  radio  via South Dakotie  side , have  some  magic  formula  to  replace  rain  &  phos    -  maybe ?  ?     

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timetippingpt
Honored Advisor

Re: Yield Plateau in corn?

Blacksandy....while the US has not had a widespread terrible crop since 2012...it also has very carefully avoiding a very good crop like 1994. We are kind of overdue for both extremes I would think. 2022 had the makings of a 2012 but the high set up too far west for that, but it also set up too far east for 1994, thus we get a slightly below average crop.

btw....the NASS bean yield of a record 51.5 kind of requires one to move to Colorado and smoke some of the native grasses out there. 

Doesn't matter much, our Evil Uncle Joe will be sending the Marines out after us pretty soon. Only at night and with red lights of course, maybe we all should be ordering night vision goggles?

 

 

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sw363535
Honored Advisor

Re: Yield Plateau in corn?

Time are you saying the usda is going to finally try to harvest a fictional crop?  When we are not looking?  In the night?

 

I have a feeling attrition will harvest a lot of yield potential.  The west _& SW_ have been through the ringer.  Reaching for the stars in yield and crop expectations is going to bring pain in the joints for the over stressed  .. (There are many signs that say 2023 will not get better.... 2022 is more like 2011 and 2012 is yet to .come)

There is a generation of overstressed talent out there, in their 40's & 50's that have been kicked in the gut since the 90's when technology offered those wonderful 5 year careers with no retirement(and no thank you as the bosses cashed in selling out).  Tech had their eye on that talent in China from the start and used US talent like a cheap *****, to get from there to hear.  Now the best thing left for farmers is a straight row and eternal oversight(also eternal debt creation like the females in congress who can't say NO to their children or their voters).  

What 2022 has taught --In many cases we will just be "living it out"with less stress and average expectations.   The green river ordinance may finally come to agriculture in a very real way when it comes to buying the stuff that always belongs to the seller except when it fails or is broken. --- Corn will pay a price for its insanity and the eternal lies.... like "green energy"..

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k-289
Senior Advisor

Re: Yield Plateau in corn?

So  the  bid  on  Sept. corn  at  C-board  Foods  at  Guymon  Okla.  of  $8.52  is  a  green  energy  , insane , number - ?

$5.oo + Diesel  Fuel  KARMA ,  seeming   to  make  an  appearance -  maybe ?  ?  ?      

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Hobbyfarmer
Honored Advisor

Re: Yield Plateau in corn?

Down here in South Podunk country I'd be thrilled to be on the yield plateau of the last two years.

But unfortunately most plateaus have a cliff on at least one side, we down here in the armpit of Iowa have found that drop off.

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