Precipitation increases in the 1990s along with changes in management and genetics have allowed the westward expansion of the corn and soybean growing areas into areas typically unfavorable for corn and bean development. Yield trends indicate these productivity changes and yield increases on a county basis across the region.
Yield trend slopes have generally been higher across the western parts of the region because of increased precipitation through the 1990s. The planting of crops in to less heavily planted regions is also associated with this change. Recent droughts have somewhat limited these yield increases in the western regions.
Along with these productivity changes have been changes in yield variability. We will review areas that are most susceptible to yield variability, especially from climate variability. We will also review some factors of recent climate changes, such as cooler summers and their impact on yield variability and increases across the corn belt.
The goal is to give producers an idea of yield variability and potential for their region to lead to better economic decision-making in light of changing climate conditions.