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Record Corn Harvest Expected

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- The optimism is almost as high as the stalks themselves.

"We have crop in as good a condition as we have in 20 years," says farmer John Airy.

Airy says it's been a good year for corn and soybean farmers, after the season started out with uncertainty and less than ideal weather.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the estimate for this year's corn harvest has jumped to 14 billion bushels. That's up from the 13.9 billion bushels produced last year. Soybean production is set for 3.8 billion bushels.

Any way you shuck it, both crops are hitting records - but why the jump?

"Lots of acres and a crop in relatively good condition," Airy says.

He adds that much of that good condition can be attributed to the weather.

"We had some early season rains that have been good, early summer rains," Airy says. "The crop did get in in fairly decent order, most parts of the Midwest.

That's early season however. What about the late season?

Airy says a milder summer has been great for growing corn, but another few weeks without rain, and some worry may start to set in.

"If this rain shuts off in a lot of the Midwest, and we don't get these rains to put a finish on the corn and bean crop, that's gonna be an issue," he says.

Airy says keep in mind the USDA estimate is just that - an estimate. The season still has a few months to go, and so that optimism is tempered by a bit of caution.

"14 billion is their best guess of today... that can change," Airy says. "But we're on our way to what would appear to be a good crop."

Of course, there's a balancing act here with supply and demand. A surplus of corn means lower prices. It means farmers have to work smart - by building more on farm storage, and timing sales to maximize profit.

DES MOINES, IA (AP) -- Farmers will produce a record-breaking corn harvest this year, surpassing earlier expectations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has revised upward its estimate of this year's corn harvest to 14 billion bushels.   

That exceeds last year's 13.9 billion bushel record.   

Soybean production also will set a new record at 3.8 billion bushels, beating the 2009 harvest of 3.4 billion bushels.   

Farmers are blessed with an abundant crop but cursed that it has driven prices lower. They are taking more control of their grain marketing by building more on-farm storage, holding onto the crop and timing the sale to maximize profit.   

Rain fell at the right times and a cooler summer made for favorable growing conditions in the 18 states that produce 91 percent of the nation's corn.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press.  All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 
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