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Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Weekly Update – August 21, 2015
Author: Arkansas Row Crops

Corn and Grain Sorghum Update – Dr. Jason Kelley (Wheat and Feed Grains Specialist)

Corn and grain sorghum harvests are progressing slowly. The Arkansas Agriculture Statistics Service estimated that corn harvest was 12% complete by the end of last week and should be about 20% by now. Rains earlier this week slowed harvest and more rain is anticipated this weekend. Corn yields have been variable, but are generally good. Most indicate yields are slightly lower than last year. Grain sorghum harvest was estimated to be only 4% complete at the end of last week and should be approximately 10% done by now. Yields from early harvested fields seem to be averaging in the 110-140 bushels per acre range.

Corn and Grain Sorghum Research Verification – Kevin Lawson (Corn & GS Verification Coordinator) 

The corn verification fields are drying down and waiting on harvest. The two fields in Clay County have not dried much in the last week. Cooler temperatures plus rain have slowed down progress of those fields. The Clay-Yount field is close to black layer, but still needs a couple of days. The forecast doesn’t look good for harvest soon on these fields.

The Lawrence County grain sorghum verification field is close to harvest. If it hadn’t rained on Wednesday (August 19) I think we could have harvested early next week. The forecast shows more rain this weekend; hopefully we can avoid those rains and get that field out. The aphid population in the Jefferson County field exploded over the past few days. For some reason the beneficials that were doing a great job disappeared and now that aphids have taken over. The field will be scouted again Monday and the plan for right now is a Transform plus glyphosate application.

Aug 21 corn update

Aug 21 gs update

Southeast Arkansas Update – Wes Kirkpatrick (Desha County)  

Harvest is still progressing. Corn yields that I’ve heard about range from 180 to 250 bushels per acre.

Central Arkansas Update – Anthony Whittington (Jefferson County) 

Corn and grain sorghum harvest is in full force but the rain on Wednesday (August 19) halted it briefly. Yields in corn have been in a range of 190 to 230 and grain sorghum from 100 to 140 bushels per acre. There are still a few fields of late planted corn that are finishing up a last watering and approaching black layer.

Northeast Arkansas Update – Stewart Runsick (Clay County) 

Nothing has been harvested yet. We received an inch of rainfall Wednesday (August 19). The corn and grain sorghum is not drying down very fast. Harvest may begin in 7-10 days.

River Valley Update – Kevin VanPelt (Conway County) 

Only a few acres of corn were harvested this week in the River Valley before the rain moved in. The yields are reported to be good in the higher areas of the fields that didn’t have water standing on them. The Yell County Hybrid trial was not irrigated due to high river levels and still averaged approximately 200 bushel per acre.

Market Update – Scott Stiles (Economics Specialist)

As of Thursday morning, September corn futures have been able to work 6 cents higher this week, trading near $3.70. Prices have been reluctant to move significantly higher with beneficial rains moving across the Midwest this week. In outside markets, soybeans and crude oil are both now trading at 6-year lows.

Corn Futures Prices

China announced Wednesday that it would be maintaining its corn stockpiling program for another year. However, the government is expected to reduce its support price for corn by 20%. This will likely have the effect of reducing imports of corn substitutes like grain sorghum.

China to maintain corn stockpiling for another year

The FSA released its first round of certified acreage reports on Monday. Thus far, 449,887 corn acres had been certified in Arkansas as planted (failed acreage is included with planted). The prevented planting total to date was 191,086.

For grain sorghum, total planted certified to date was 423,202 with 20,938 of prevented planting. This information will be updated and released monthly through January. The next update will be available on September 16.  Typically, NASS Crop Production reports do not integrate this information from FSA until October.

FSA crop acreage data reported

On-Farm Drying Decisions:

Commonly we are asked by producers to help them decide whether they should deliver 20% moisture corn (for example) to the elevator or dry it on-farm to 15% prior to delivery. Making this decision requires a good handle on drying costs at both the farm level and at the commercial elevator. One approach that might help in making this decision is to first determine the cost of drying that would be incurred at your local elevator.

Most elevators charge a flat rate moisture discount for corn that is received in excess of 15% moisture. Some will determine drying discounts based on a percentage of the corn price itself. Assume in this example the price of corn is $3.65 per bushel and the discount rate for drying is 1.5% of price for each half percent above 15% moisture. The drying discount for 20% moisture corn would be 54.75 cents per bushel [[(20 – 15) * 3%] * $3.65].

Whether dried on-farm or taken to a commercial elevator, the shrinkage loss for corn dried from 20% to 15% moisture would be 7 percent.   Shrinkage is generally calculated at 1.4% loss for each 1% of moisture removed. Using our corn price of $3.65 per bushel, shrinkage costs would equate to 25.55 cents per bushel [(5 x 1.4%) * $3.65]. This in effect leaves 29.2 cents per bushel for the grower to cover his on-farm drying costs [(25.55 – 54.75) = 29.2 cents per bushel]. From here the producer must rely on the accuracy of his own cost estimates to determine if 29.2 cents per bushel is sufficient to cover his costs of drying corn.

Heat Units

Cooler temperatures this week plus the big cool down that the rain on Wednesday (August 19) brought through has this week’s heat units below the 30 year average. Northeast and Central Arkansas were 23 heat units behind this week, which is a full day’s worth of heat units.

Aug 21 gdd update

Twitter – Jason Kelley @AR_Feedgrains, Kevin Lawson @ar_cornverify

Cooperative Extension Service Corn Page –

Cooperative Extension Service Grain Sorghum Page –

Arkansas Row Crops Blog –

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