Aerial Tour of the Corn Belt Shows "Staggering" Impact of Wet Spring

Posted on 07/17/2019 6:53 AM

Aerial tour imageAgMarket.Net, Farm Division of John Stewart and Associates (JSA), John Stewart Corporate and private investors, recently completed a private project that set out to determine both unharvestable corn acres and the health of the crop. The study covered five states taking hi res and ultra hi res pictures in the RGB bands every 25 miles in three or four passes per state, taking in more than 157,000 acres in the weeks on either side of the July 4 holiday. AgriTalk Host Chip Flory interviewed Bill Biedermann, a partner at the company, yesterday about the “staggering” results.

“Corn Project 2019” generated a subjective yield estimate of 156 bu. per acre and a 79.62 million harvested acres estimate—figures Biedermann described as “conservatively hopeful” since they are reliant on near perfect weather from here forward.

But Biedermann said, “that’s really not the story here. The story is to look at these pictures and to digest the stage of the crop that we’re in. … it’s just unbelievable. … We evaluated 9 million acres that would be at risk of not making maturity” if there’s a September frost, “and I think it was 12 or 13 million more acres that if it doesn’t make it it’s gonna be potential silage.”

Even in cases where ground checks seemed to reveal good crops, such as in western Iowa, aerial pictures revealed massive holes.

Biedermann’s said takeaways from the study include: 1.) The farm belt is in a lot of stress, 2.) A lot of decisions were made—rational, emotional, based on incomplete policy coming out of Washington—that may have created an insurance peril, and 3.) How is that going to impact APHs in years to come?

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