BLOOMINGTON — With corn production yield estimates coming in nationally at a record-high number, and the Illinois yield to be the second largest on record, market access will be a key factor in limiting losses due to depressed corn prices.
“This is the type of scenario that we pencil out to demonstrate why market access is so important to corn farmer profitability,” said Illinois Corn Growers Association President Justin Durdan. “Now it looks like our “what if” scenarios might become “what now” situations as we face continued below cost of production prices, threats to our export relationships, and deteriorating transportation infrastructure.”
“Given that some of our top yielding areas in the state still haven’t finished with the corn harvest at this point, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s harvest emergency declaration couldn’t have been better timed as we see this crop report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service coming out and predicting our average yield at the second highest number on record,” Durdan continued.
The November 9, 2017, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Crop Production report pegs the national average per acre corn yield at 175.4 that if realized, would be a record. NASS also predicts a near-record per acre corn yield for Illinois at 198 bushels, second only to the 2014 production of 200 bushels per acre.
“We cannot say strongly enough how important export markets are to the profitability picture for corn farmers,” said Durdan. “Specifically, NAFTA needs to remain in effect, and maybe even improved by the Trump Administration, but we cannot withdraw because losing our top corn customer right now is unimaginable.”
“Secretary Perdue said this week that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is preparing for the loss of NAFTA, just in case, but at the farm level, no amount of preparation will make a difference to losing that market, especially to Illinois farmers since we believe that more than half the corn that ends up in Mexico from the U.S. was grown on an Illinois farm,” Durdan said.
“We have a bright spot to improve markets through ethanol exports to Mexico since they recently approved improving their gasoline to a ten percent blend of ethanol,” Durdan said. “We’re also working to change policy in Washington to pave the way for higher octane fuels here in the U.S., with that octane coming from corn ethanol like what’s made right here in Illinois.”