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Corn harvest nears completion, per-acre yield and prices rise

Jim Bannwarth harvests corn in a field 12 miles northwest of Mitchell in this photo from last week. (Chris Huber/Republic)1 / 2
The corn in this field is yielding around 130 bushels per acre with 13 percent moisture content. Bannwarth said with moisture content being so low, he will not have to dry it, saving him a lot of money.2 / 2

As another year's harvest comes to a close, farmers are reaping the benefits of high prices and dry conditions.

Jim Bannwarth harvested corn with his son and daughter-in-law 12 miles northeast of Mitchell last week, finishing up the 5,000 acres he and his family farm.

The digital readout screen in the cab of his combine showed his yield hovering around 131 bushels per acre. That's a number he said is "pretty good with today's prices."

The screen also shows the corn is at 13 percent moisture, a testament to lack of precipitation the region has seen this fall.

Bannwarth said not having to use driers on his corn before bringing it to the elevator will mean a huge saving in costs over the last two years.

"We have had good weather and good yields this year; you can't beat that," Bannwarth said.

Corn production in South Dakota is forecast to be 667.2 million bushels this year, up from last year's production of 569.7 million, according to the most recent forecast from mid-October.

Total United States corn production is forecast at 12.4 billion bushels, with South Dakota producing about 18.3 percent of the nation's total.

South Dakota planted a stunning 5.2 million acres of corn this spring, up from last year's total 4.55 million.

The corn yield per acre is forecast at 139 bushels, up four bushels from last year. The national corn yield per acre is predicted to be 148.1 bushel this year.

As of Oct. 30, 85 percent of corn was harvested in South Dakota, up from last year's total of 79 percent at the same time. The fiveyear average for percent harvested at this time is 47 percent.

South Dakota's other major crop, soybeans, is also forecast for an increase in production this year.

Forecasts call for 157.95 million bushels production, about 630,000 bushels above last year's total.

Bushels per acre for soybeans are also predicted to take a small jump up from 38 in 2010 to 39 this year.