Virginia among states expecting record corn yields

RICHMOND—Virginia is one of nine states projected to have record-breaking corn yields for 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Old Dominion is projected to harvest 157 bushels of corn per acre; last year’s yield was 145 bushels per acre. Virginia corn producers plant about 350,000 acres of corn for grain, which results in about 50 million bushels of corn annually.

“There is so much corn. So much corn,” said Robert Harper, grain manager for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Farmers were able to get their crop planted in a timely manner and had near-ideal growing conditions this year. We had adequate and timely rainfall, the genetics in the seed are getting better and pest management is getting even more precise. All of that together is the perfect recipe for high yields.”

While record yields are wonderful for Virginia corn producers, having too much corn can create storage and logistics issues. “When we have all this corn coming out of the field, there becomes an issue of where it will all go,” Harper said.

“Corn has to go somewhere, and a lot of grain elevators will start to fill up. By the end of September to mid-October, I think we’ll find that a lot of facilities are full, so farmers will have to change their marketing plans and send their crop farther away or store more on the farm.”

Over the past 10 years farmers in parts of Virginia have added more on-farm storage for grain, which helps, Harper said.

“You have to be able to sell and move what you can’t store,” he said. “You take it one contract at a time and fit in corn where you can. If the corn can’t go somewhere, the farmer has to stop his combine. Nothing makes farmers feel sick to their stomachs quicker than to have a beautiful day for harvesting corn, but the combine can’t run because you don’t have anywhere to store corn. By mid-October, the pressure will be on. Farmers need to plant small grain in a timely manner (this fall) and get ready for (next year’s) soybeans.”

Media: Contact Harper at 804-290-1105.

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