WASHINGTON — The US Department of Agriculture, in its first survey-based forecasts for corn and soybeans of the year, projected record yields for both crops. In the case of corn, this would result in the largest US crop ever harvested, and in the case of soybeans, the 2020 crop would be only slightly smaller than the record crop harvested in 2018.

The USDA forecast 2020 corn production at a record 15,278,202,000 bus, up 1,660,941,000 bus, or 12%, from 13,617,261,000 bus in 2019. The recent five-year average corn outturn was 14,263 million bus, and the previous record corn crop was 15,148,038,000 bus in 2016.

The 2020 corn forecast was based on a harvested area projection at 84,023,000 acres, unchanged from the July outlook, the latter based on the USDA planted area estimate and a trendline average for abandonment and not a producer survey. The harvested area in 2019 was 81,322,000 acres.

The USDA projected the average corn yield in 2020 at a record 181.8 bus per acre compared with 178.5 bus per acre as the USDA’s July trendline forecast and compared with 167.4 bus per acre in 2019.  

The USDA forecast 2020 soybean production at 4,424,800,000 bus, up 872,559,000 bus, or 25%, from 3,552,241,000 bus in 2019. The recent five-year average soybean outturn was 4,123 million bus, and the current record-large soybean crop was 4,428,150,000 bus in 2018.

The 2020 production forecast was based on a harvested area projected at 83,020,000 acres, 11% larger than the 2019 harvested area, and an average yield at a record 53.3 bus per acre, compared with the USDA’s July trendline yield forecast of 49.8 bus acre and 47.4 bus per acre in 2019.

The USDA noted that the forecasts were based on conditions prevailing Aug. 1, so any potential impacts from severe weather that occurred after Aug. 1 will be reflected in future reports.