DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- This year's corn crop has soared to a new national record, breaking expectations in many states that received too much rain early on and a summer dry spell that brought back drought concerns.
In its first crop supply and demand report since the partial government shutdown, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday it expects 13.99 billion bushels of corn, more than the September forecast of 13.8 billion bushels. The previous record was 13.1 billion in 2009.
Some observers thought there would be a subpar harvest in the Midwest, including Iowa and Nebraska. Heavy rains delayed spring planting by several weeks, causing some farmers to give up planting the wettest fields. Then, drought conditions returned in the summer months.
"Better than expected" are the three most popular words in Iowa right now, said Chad Hart, an agriculture economist at Iowa State University.