CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Many farmers are using organized crop surveys to estimate the size of this year’s corn and soybean crops. A Cornbelt-wide survey is finding surprising low yields and that is confirmed by a local grain cooperative.

Topflight Grain volunteers sampled area corn and soybean fields last week and grain merchandiser Jeremy Glauner tallied the results earlier this week.

“I always get confused on the yield question because we don’t know the test weight yet. But what we’re finding on kernel counts, rows around, and populations, everything is down, year on year. And it sums to a pretty significant decline year on year,” Glauner said. “We’re finding about 12% down year on year on our corn counts. It’s not expected, it’s not what you thought before you got in the field and until last week when we started doing our counts, I wouldn’t have believed it either. I thought we might be down 2 or 3% tops.”

“It was tough weather in June, particularly. We’ve got tip back, we’ve got small ears. Of that 12% I’d say the vast majority of the decline is on the length of the ear. It’s just smaller. We’ve got more 14 arounds than 18s. You are start to shift that a little. And then the plant population was down a little bit as well. We’ve taken a hit on just about every front here,” Glauner said. “Unexpected, but is sounds like Pro Farmer is finding the same thing when they get in their fields too. Soybeans, we are finding we’re down 3-4% per plant on pods, pod counts. In soybeans, I don’t think it’s that significant because we can make up for that pretty easily with weights, with bean size. But yes, that’s what we’re finding. A real surprise on a significant decline in production in central Illinois.

With USDA’s higher-than-expected acreage where planting did not occur, Glauner believes the overall yield and the end of year surplus will be lower than the market expects.

“Sub-170 really could be in the cards. If you are talking about that and possibly losing a little bit of acreage as well, you’re talking about losing six bushels an acre,” Glauner said. “So you’re taking about losing 500 million to 600 million bushels. You’re talking about a solidly sub-billion-bushel carryout.”