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2012 Drought Aftermath: How State Corn Yields Fared

Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana and Illinois saw big losses while states further south hit jackpot

Published on: Feb 20, 2013

Yield data coming in for the 2012 growing season shows the true impact of the 2012 drought. For corn, the lowest state yields occurred in Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois. Most states in the southeast had above trend yields. Minnesota and North Dakota had yields close to trend (see Figure 1 map).

The map gives a percent for each state that indicate a state's 2012 yield relative to trend yield. For example, Illinois has a 62% yield relative to trend. This means that the 2012 yield of 105 bushels is 62% of the 169 bushel trend yield. The 169 trend yields results from statistically fitting a straight line through yield data from 1975 through 2011, and then extrapolating the yield to 2012.

Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana and Illinois saw big losses while states further south hit jackpot
Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana and Illinois saw big losses while states further south hit jackpot

A value below 100% indicates that the state yield was below trend yield and a value above 100% indicates that the 2012 yield was above trend.

Relative to trend yields, the lowest yields were in Kentucky (47% of trend) and Missouri (53%). Most states adjacent to Kentucky and Missouri also had low yields. Indiana's 2012 yield was 61% of trend, Illinois was 62% of trend, Tennessee was 62% of trend, and Kansas was 68% of trend.

Overall the worst of the drought relative to corn yields was centered in an area running from Kansas through Missouri and Southern Illinois, into southern Indiana and Kentucky.

2012 Drought Aftermath: How State Corn Yields Fared

To view a larger graphic, download the PDF below

Most of the states in the western corn-belt had below average yields. Iowa's 2012 yield was 77% of trend, South Dakota was 74% of trend, and Nebraska was 85% of trend. While below trend, yields in the western corn-belt were not as poor as in the eastern corn-belt. The drought had larger impacts on the eastern corn-belt than on the western corn-belt.

Other states had yields above trend. With the exception of Alabama, all states from Texas through North Carolina had above trend yields. States with exceptionally high yields include South Carolina (131% of trend), Georgia (124%), Mississippi (114%), and Louisiana (113%).

Another area that had near normal production was Minnesota (96% or trend) and North Dakota (96%).

-Schnitkey is an Ag Economist at University of Illinois.


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