AccuWeather's latest 2020 crop production predictions foresee a record
There were a number of uncertainties facing farmers in the United States Corn Belt earlier this year – from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to the historic decline in the U.S. production of ethanol (40 percent of corn grown is used in ethanol), among other concerns.
“There are a lot of variables still in play,” Calvin Haile, co-owner of Haile Farms in Dunnsville, Virginia, told AccuWeather at the time.
However, not only hasn’t the weather been one of the variables, it has been a farmer’s best friend. Planting and growing conditions have been favorable across much of Corn Belt to the point that it seems like nothing could go wrong.
“Well, if it got drier and hotter – but we don’t see that happening so far,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Dave Samuhel. “Look, there have been plenty of crops that look good on June 4, and then things didn’t work out.
“We’ll know how the season will be for corn in a month,” he said. “If things are still looking good a month from now – being able to see two or three weeks out weather-wise – then I wouldn’t say the crop is made, but you can narrow the range of what production might end up being.”
AccuWeather increased its expected 2020 yield for corn from 178 bushels per acre to 178.5 ahead of June’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates on June 11. AccuWeather now expects total corn production to be 15.708 million bushels, up from the 15.664 bushels predicted on April 30.
That output would be a record year for corn production, with the current U.S. record for annual corn production being 15.15 billion bushels in 2016. Last year, the final total was 13.692 billion bushels.
Some good news for corn producers with such a potentially large supply of corn on the market is that U.S. ethanol production is now on the rise. U.S. ethanol production this week was the largest since March, according to the Energy Information Administration. For the week ending May 29, ethanol production expanded by 5.7 percent, or 40,000 barrels per day to 765,000 barrels per day — equivalent to 32.13 million gallons daily and the largest volume since March, according to Successful Farming.
“It’s not back to normal,” said Samuhel, “but it’s heading in that direction.”