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July 14, 2003   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
July 14, 2003

Despite flooding in the eastern Corn Belt and areas of dryness remaining throughout the nation, ProExporter (PRX) President Bill Hudson says this year's corn crop has the potential to break the harvest record of 138.6 bushels per acre set in 1994. Hudson said it's all a matter of predicting the unpredictable.

"If the rest of the season behaves, it should be a record yield of 140 or better," he said. "Some people, such as Bill Tierney (professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University), who is considered by many as one of the best at using the crop condition rating and its correlation to the final yield, has predicted 144 at this stage." On the basis of USDA's June 30 report, Hudson has projected this season's corn harvest could yield 10 billion bushels.

"The crop is off to a good start," said National Corn Growers Association interim Director of Production and Stewardship Robert McIntyre, "but July and August rains across the Corn Belt will determine the eventual size of the 2003 crop."

Hudson said he looks primarily at three types of models to predict yields: reports generated by (PRX), those generated by Tierney, and satellite reports. "Our reports are based on past experience and various reports we receive and we're predicting 140. We've been doing this a long time and our track record is pretty good."

The question right now is: What about the wetness in the eastern Corn Belt? Hudson continued. "The satellite model has yields in that area less than we do, because it bases predictions on how the plant looks now and right now, the plants are awfully wet.

"Now, the crop condition ratings are done by county agents who call into the state offices every Monday with their assessment. The state office then puts it into a number, representing so much poor, so much fair, so much good, etc. On the basis of those reports, it appears the county agents are impressed with the fact there is plenty of water and the crop is doing well, even though there is flooding in the east."

Based on those reports, said Hudson, "it's clear to us and clear to everybody that if it doesn't turn warm and sunshiney over the eastern Corn Belt, they won't achieve what the trends predict. But most of the rest of the Corn Belt is off to an incredible start."

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