Warm weather and clear skies Monday had farmers racing for their combines. The harvest started in full force around the Quincy area Monday morning. But farmers don't expect to get as much out of their fields this fall. We asked local farmers what this means for corn prices and farmers' wallets.
Roger King already can tell a difference in his fields this year.
"Yields are down 10-20 percent on average," said King.
This month, U.S.D.A. lowered its projected corn harvest for local farmers, backing down about 6 bushels per acre.
KHQA asked King why the drop in yield this year.
"We had such extensive rainfall that a lot of the soil nutrients, especially nitrogen, was leaked out," said King. "We're a little disappointed, but we're still satisfied and it could have been much worse."
On the upside, corn prices have reached an all time high in the last two years. In 2008, farmers were selling corn for around $2 a bushel.
"The price is getting up near $5 a bushel," said Roger King.
Overall, agricultural experts say the difference in yield and price average out.
"It's not different from last year. We had lower prices but really high yields. So the farmers' profits are about the same," said Shawn Valter, with the Adams County Farm Bureau. "Most farmers have a marketing plan so they figure out how much crop they're going to sell and at what price and whatever profit level they're comfortable with. So just because we have high prices today doesn't mean all the farmers are selling their crops at that particular high price."
And expect corn prices to go even higher. Russia, one of the world's largest corn exporters, saw an extreme drought this summer. It's put an embargo on its corn sales, making countries like China turn to the U.S. for its imports.
When the USDA updates its estimate for this year's corn crop, that number is expected to be near 165 bushels an acre.
As combines begin their work east of the river, yeilds have not been as strong as expected, therefore pushing corn prices to heights not seen in the past two years.