The 2012 situation is not out of line with the experience in previous years of large yield declines. Table 2 contains the 5 years for corn and soybeans since 1974 that had the largest percent decline in yield relative to trend yield. Despite double digit declines in yield, revenue at harvest exceeded revenue at planting in 2 of the 5 years for corn and 4 of the 5 years for soybeans. On average across all 5 years for corn, revenue per planted acre was the same at harvest as at planting, despite a 19% average decline in yield relative to trend. For soybeans, average revenue was 7% higher at harvest than at planting even though average U.S. yield was 14% below trend.

It is important to call attention to the 1984 observation for soybeans because, unlike the other observations in this article, the decline in revenue (-22%) exceeded the decline in yield (-9%). Thus, exceptions exist to the general storyline discussed in the previous paragraphs.