Despite hot and dry weather this summer, U.S. corn yields hit a new record high this year at 175.4 bushels per acre, according to Thursday’s update from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Crop yields have risen sharply in recent years due to crop genetics, better pest management, improving machinery, and increasingly efficient farming techniques. Rising yields have allowed the U.S. to continue providing a surplus of grain despite a rising global population, increasing livestock herds (that are largely grain-fed), and the additional demand from biofuel production.
This year’s harvest is projected to exceed 14.3 billion bushels, which could leave an excess, or carryover, of more than 2.3 billion bushels of corn. Fears of oversupply knocked corn to a new low price near $3.40 per bushel, cutting deeply into farmer’s profitability for those that waited until harvest to price their grain.