Historical grain yields provide us with a glimpse of yields yet to come, although like the stock markets, past performance is no guarantee of the future. The historical yield data for corn in the U.S. illustrate the positive impact of improved crop genetics and crop production technologies.
From 1866, the first year USDA began to publish corn yield estimates, through about 1936, yields of open-pollinated corn varieties in the U.S. remained fairly stagnant and averaged about 26 bu/ac (1.6 MT/ha) throughout that 70-year period. Amazingly, the historical data indicate there was no appreciable change in productivity during that entire time period (Fig. 1), even though farmers’ seed-saving practices represented a form of Read more