U.S. farmers produced record amounts of corn and soybeans in 2014, according to the annual crop production report issued Monday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Minnesota, however, had an average crop year, not a record one, according to the report.
Minnesota Corn Growers Association President Bruce Peterson said that the long winter, which extended into spring, reduced the growing season and played a role in limiting the state's crop yields.
"Too many acres were planted in the last half of May last year," he said, and those were the acres that suffered from an early mid-September frost that damaged wide areas of corn.
Those acres affected average yields, Peterson said, which were 156 bushels per acre for corn, down slightly from 2013, and 42 bushels for soybeans, unchanged from 2013.
Minnesota farmers last year produced 1.18 billion bushels of corn, according to the federal report, down 9 percent from 2013 but about the same as 2011. Growers in the state harvested 305 million bushels of soybeans, up 10 percent from 2013.
Nationwide, growers produced 14.2 billion bushels of corn, up 3 percent from 2013.
Soybeans totaled 3.97 billion bushels, 18 percent more than the previous year.
Illinois was the nation's sweet spot in 2014 and produced the highest average yields of 200 bushels of corn per acre, compared to 178 in 2013. "Overall, it's still a very large crop, and certainly there's ample supply," Peterson said of corn, both in Minnesota and nationally.
The concerns going forward are more about demand, he said, and how that will affect prices that farmers receive for grain not yet sold.
Producers will be watching to see whether lower gasoline prices will reduce profits from ethanol producers, causing them to buy and grind less corn. Growers also will be following the export markets, he said, and whether the stronger dollar will reduce sales of corn, soybeans and distillers grains to China and other countries.
The surplus of corn and soybeans in 2014 was expected because of the number of acres planted nationally, and generally good weather in Midwest states. Record yields were reported in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio.
Expectations of the records were partly responsible for a steady reduction in grain prices during the summer and fall to some of their lowest levels in five years. But cheaper grain used for feed has benefited the livestock industry, and more affordable corn has also helped ethanol producers.