News & Events
The first and second installments of a U.S. Grains Council (USGC) video series chronicling the 2016 U.S. corn growing season are now available online, highlighting pre-planting decisions and planting progress on farms in Arkansas, Missouri, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Most U.S. farmers began making their decisions for next year's growing season well before the crop year begins.
"We make our planting decisions in the fall when we are getting ready to spread the fertilizer," said Casey Kelleher, a Wisconsin farmer.
In addition, U.S. farmers may do tillage work and purchase seed in the fall. Closer to planting time, farmers begin to prepare their equipment.
"Prior to every year, we get the corn planter out and check all the bearings and mechanical parts," said Ryan Wagner, a South Dakota farmer. "Also, today's corn planters have a lot of electronics for us to maintain, so each year we have to make sure all the controllers are working the way we want them to. This takes a couple of weeks every year."
This year, after the machinery was ready to go, many U.S. corn farmers began planting in mid-April as the weather was ideal. To get the corn in the ground in a timely fashion, many farmers hire extra help.
"For planting, we have over equipped ourselves because we want to be able to get a large amount of acreage planted in a small window of time," said Tommy Young, a farmer in Arkansas.
While planting got off to a good start, weather remains the key factor in determining yields.
"I'm a little concerned about missing some showers," said Gary Porter, a Missouri farmer, when he was filmed for the video in April. "However, I'm hoping we got the corn in the ground early enough that it will pollinate before the dry weather hits."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report that was released in June is predicting this year's corn crop to total 365.8 million metric tons (14.4 billion bushels). While this is an increase from last year, only time and the weather will determine the 2016/2017 U.S. corn crop's yield.
The next installment of this video series, available in late summer, will revisit these farmers to see how their crops are growing.