Mike Geske, president of Missouri Corn Growers Association and a Matthews farmer, said farmers are just now getting started with the harvest.
"It's really difficult to tell where we're going be," Geske said. "Invariably, unirrigated corn was affected by the drought. Irrigated corn looks like it will be pretty good. It's a little early to say in the Bootheel how the yield is going to go."
But the U.S. Department of Agriculture is anticipating a great year for corn harvest in Missouri. According to the USDA's latest crop production report released earlier this month, Missouri is projected to yield 463 million bushels, the second largest corn crop on record. Southeast Missouri is expected to yield 95.1 million bushels -- up from 51.9 million bushels projected in 2006.
Responding in part to growing demand created by the farmer-owned ethanol industry, Missouri growers planted 30 percent more corn than last year. According to the USDA, Missouri farmers are expecting to harvest 3.38 million acres of the 3.50 million planted acres, the largest acreage since 1960. Southeast Missouri farmers are expected to harvest 585,000 of the 590,000 acres planted.
The projected yield for Missouri's corn crop is estimated at 137 bushels per acre; Southeast Missouri's projected yield is estimated at 163 bushels per acre.
"Everything about this year, weather wise, has been a surprise," Geske said. "It's interesting right now because the replanted corn is about the same maturity level as the corn planted before it."
When last spring's freeze hit the area, about 60-70 percent of corn acreage was replanted, Geske recalled.
"Because of a warm spring, the replanted corn essentially caught up; it's not a good sign because it was not as long as a period to develop the yield. The later planted corn is going to be a little off than the earlier planted corn," Geske said.
Nationally, corn production is forecast at 13.1 billion bushels. If realized, the 2007 corn harvest would represent the most corn acres for grain since 1933.
"I'm hoping maybe the harvest in the Bootheel will be better than expected, better than what the weather indicated we would have," Geske said. "I think it will be a pretty decent corn crop."