Trends in Corn Yields for Top States

Honing in on the yield differences, this chart shows the five, ten and 20-year average of the top 18 corn producing states yields as a percent of the U.S. yield and we also do that with the “other” states that produce corn that are grouped together.

It is true that North and South Dakota corn yields do average below the national yield but over the years, their yields have been increasing vs. the U.S. yield on a relative basis.

From 2001 to 2020 the North Dakota yield was averaged 20.2% below the U.S. yield but from 2011-2020 it was 19.6% below; over the last five seasons it has averaged 17.0% below the national yield.

South Dakota exhibits a similar pattern with the 20-year average 15.5% below the U.S. yield improving to 11.5% below for the 10-year average and 11.0% below over the past five years.

Kentucky and Tennessee also have seen their state corn yields improve relative to the national yield over the years by an even greater degree.

Conversely the Plains states of CO, KS and TX have seen their state corn yields lose ground relative to the national yield over the years.

This is perhaps due to long-standing drought issues in that part of the country or is land that should not be planted to corn but is due to crop insurance considerations or enhanced profitability vs. other more traditional crops grown in those states.

The final fact is there are only five states that have yields that average higher than the national yield and they are IL, IN, IA, MN and NE, all blockbuster corn producing states.

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