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Fluid Journal : Spring 2018
11 The Fluid Journal Spring 2018 Finally, really warm ocean temperatures in the western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, combined with a westward propagating Bermuda High, can signal heat in the corn-belt too. Big trends. US corn and soybean yields have steadily risen for decades as seed technology, herbicides, pesticides, advanced fertilizers, precision planting, and other ag tech has made us more efficient at farming. Trend line yields for corn in 2018 will top 170 bu/acre, and soybeans will near 50 bu/acre. The true potential for both is much higher! Remove 2012 from those trend lines and the average US yields go over 174 bu/acre and 52 bu/acre, respectively. In addition to this, we are seeing a lot of acreage in the Dakotas converting from other crops (like wheat and barley) to corn and soybeans, which makes the northern Plains a larger part of the US production of both crops. The USDA is projecting that over the next 10 years that soybeans will be the largest US crop in terms of acreage, overtaking corn for the first time since 1983. Figure 7. Jet stream pattern that leads to drought and heat in the cornbelt. Source: Snodgrass Figure 8. Summer weather patterns to watch for potential heat and drought in the cornbelt. Source: Snodgrass Figure 9 (left). USDA 10-year projections for crop acreage. Source: US Farm Bureau and the USDA. Figure 10 (above). Historical corn yields in the US. Source: USDA NASS Dr. Eric Snodgrass is the Director of Undergraduate studies for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.