By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC
The USDA reported the lowest ear counts in the last 7 years. Interestingly though in each of the last 6 years, final ear counts ultimately were lower than September estimates.
Ear weight estimates, on the other hand, were average compared to the last 6 years. In 4 of the last 6 years, final ear weights increased into the final January estimate as compared to September projections. They dropped in 2018 and were the same in 2014.
With this information, it seems reasonable that a national yield reduction is possible; however, widespread favorable weather over the last 4 weeks and upcoming good forecasts for the next 2 weeks may mean improved ear weights that offset some ear loss.
Many market participants still think harvested acre estimates could be trimmed by 1 to 2 million acres. However, it’s important to keep in mind that corn exports and ethanol grind have slowed.