Lauer, Joseph G.

By: Chavas, Jean-Paul; Kim, Kwansoo; Lauer, Joseph G.; Klemme, Richard M.; Bland, William L.
This study investigates the recent evolution of corn yield, with a special focus on the tradeoff between corn profitability and risk. The analysis relies on time-series data from Wisconsin experimental farms at the edge of the Corn Belt. An econometric model of corn yield, corn grain moisture, and corn profitability is specified. Both conditional means and conditional variances are estimated for different sites in Wisconsin. The empirical analysis shows the changes in corn yield and profit over time and across space. The evidence suggests that yield trends are due mostly to technical progress, with smaller effects generated by climate change. On average, corn yield and profitability have improved faster in northern Wisconsin than in the Corn Belt. However, risk has also increased faster. Results show that the choice of corn hybrid maturity makes it easier to manage risk in the Corn Belt than in northern Wisconsin.