WASHINGTON, Sept. 3, 2014 – The condition of the U.S. corn crop, already projected to be the biggest in history, just keeps getting better.

USDA on Tuesday said that 74 percent of the crop in the 18 biggest corn-growing states was in good or excellent condition as of Aug. 31, up from 73 percent a week earlier. The conditions are some of the best ever just as the harvest is getting under way in many areas. Only 56 percent of the crop got the highest two ratings at the same time last year, when farmers harvested a record 13.925 billion bushels.

The department’s latest forecast for this year’s crop is 14.032 billion bushels, but many analysts think the harvest could be much bigger, barring a major weather incident like an early frost.

“You know what they always say,” Bob Young, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s chief economist, said in an interview. “Big crops tend to get bigger.”

“There’s a lot of truth to that,” he said, adding that he wouldn’t be surprised to see USDA eventually adding several more bushels to its yield estimates.

“Put that together with almost 90 million harvested acres, and it doesn’t take long to get another couple hundred million bushels,” he said.

The consensus among experts who visited fields during the Pro Farmer’s 2014 crop tour is for a harvest of 14.093 billion bushels. The tour looked at samples from seven states during the tour Aug. 18-21.

“We confirmed record-breaking yield potential for both corn and soybeans in a large part of the Midwest,” Chip Flory, Pro Farmer editorial director, said in the Pro Farmer newsletter. “There are some problem areas in the northern Corn Belt and elsewhere, but they are the exception and not widespread.”

Pro Farmer pegs the soybean crop at 3.812 billion bushels, also a record, and up from 3.289 billion produced last year. USDA projected a crop of 3.816 billion bushels in its most recent forecast on Aug. 12. The department will update its production and yield forecast for corn, soybean and other crops on Sept. 11.


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