USDA forecasts record corn and soybean crops

The USDA forecast puts the 2010 corn harvest at record setting levels.

U.S. farmers are on pace to produce the largest corn and soybean crops in history, according to the Crop Production report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Corn production is forecast at 13.4 billion bushels and soybean production at 3.43 billion bushels, both up 2% from the previous records set in 2009. Based on conditions as of Aug. 1, corn yields are expected to average a record-high 165 bushels per acre, up 0.3 bushel from last year’s previous record. Soybean yields are expected to equal last year’s record of 44 bushels per acre.

The August Crop Production report contains USDA’s first survey-based estimates of yield and production for corn, soybeans and other spring-planted row crops. Between July 25 and August 6, NASS surveyed approximately 27,000 producers and also took objective field measurements in the major crop-producing states. Crop Production is published monthly and is available online at http://www.nass.usda.gov.

“This forecast reconfirms what we have always recognized: U.S. corn growers work hard to produce the most abundant, affordable crop possible,” said National Corn Growers Association President Darrin Ihnen, a grower from Hurley, S.D. “As we continuously beat records, such as those for total production and average yield, without substantially increasing the area planted and while decreasing the amount of inputs, we hope that those outside of our industry also take notice. In educating themselves on the triumphs of modern agriculture, the 98.5 percent of the population not involved in agriculture can make informed decisions in debates on issues pertaining to food, fuel and feed.”

USDA forecasts now show that the 2010 harvest will bring in a record corn crop of 13.4 billion bushels with a record average yield of 165 bushels per acre. The total crop would surpass the record set in 2009 by 2 percent.

Forecasts were revised higher than in previous estimates due to favorable weather conditions across many key corn growing areas. In the Mississippi Valley and upper Great Lakes region, moderate temperatures and adequate soil moisture provided favorable growing conditions are expected to result in higher yielding plants. Expected yields were also higher than last year across the southern Great Plains and lower Mississippi Valley. Yield prospects are lower in both the Atlantic Coast region and Tennessee Valley due to above normal temperatures and dry conditions.

The USDA supply and demand report revised several forecasts from previous editions. Beginning stocks for corn are projected 52 million bushels lower reflecting higher than expected export demand, corn use for sweeteners and starch and a small reduction in projected imports for 2009/10. Forecasted corn production for 2010/11 rose by 120 million bushels. The yield forecast of 165.0 bushels per acre is up 1.5 bushels from last month’s projection.

Higher than expected corn use for sweeteners and starch caused analysts to raise projections on domestic corn use for 2010/11 by 30 million bushels. Exports are projected 100 million bushels higher as tighter foreign supplies of wheat and coarse grains raise prospects for U.S. corn shipments. Despite higher production, ending stocks are projected down 61 million bushels to 1.3 billion, the lowest in four years.
The season-average farm price went up five cents on each end of the range to now total $3.50 to $4.10 per bushel. Similar price increases are projected for the other feed grains.

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