Impact of COVID-19 on Agriculture

Record Crops Estimated for 2020

Podcasts / Newsline August 13, 2020

Credit: United Soybean Board/CC BY 2.0 

Outstanding growing conditions could lead to a massive harvest this year. Chad Smith tells us the August crop report from USDA estimates record production in 2020.

Smith: U.S. farmers could have a busy harvest ahead this year. Shelby Myers, economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation says several crops could expect record yields.

Myers:  The latest USDA report showed an estimated record yield for corn, cotton, and soybeans. When combined with the previously reported planting expectations, the U.S. is on track to produce its largest corn and soybean crop on record, and the largest cotton crop since 2007.

Smith: But Myers says those record high yields might not translate to more money in farmers pockets.

Myers: With the continued demand adjustments occurring as a result of COVID-19 and estimated record production of the current crop, USDA lowered the average farm price in the latest report for corn and soybeans and held the price of cotton unchanged. As supply and demand conditions persist towards supply heavily outweighing demand, there could be further pressure on those crop prices to go even lower.

Smith: A recent Derecho storm system whipped through a large area and Myers says those storms will likely affect the final crop numbers.

Myers: The recent storms are devastating for a number of reasons, and as cleanup is underway, the damage continues to be assessed. Looking ahead, these storms could have an impact on the supply of crops by scaling back the amount of total crops the U.S. produces this year. While this could alleviate some downward pressure on prices, it does not replace the destruction of crops many farmers are experiencing today.

Smith: Chad Smith, Washington.

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