USDA: Corn, Soybean Supplies Tight, Prices to Stay High

By George Ford, Reporter

The leaves of corn stalks turn upward to collect more water when it comes, on a farm west of Center Point, Iowa, on Tuesday, July 11, 2012. Much of the midwest is in a moderate to severe drought. (Nikole Hanna/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Aaron Hepker

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday slightly increased its forecast for corn production, supplies are expected to remain tight and prices are projected to stay at fairly high levels.

Corn production nationally was raised to 10.7 billion bushels, up slightly from the October forecast but down 13 percent from 2011, primarily due to the record drought that slashed yields in the Corn Belt. If realized, it would represent the lowest corn production in the United States since 2006.

Based on conditions as of Nov. 1, yields are expected to average 122.3 bushels per acre, up 0.3 bushels from the October forecast but 24.9 bushels below the 2011 average. If realized, it will be the lowest average yield since 1995.

Area harvested for grain is forecast at 87.7 million acres, unchanged from the October forecast and up 4 percent from 2011.

With the slight increase in corn production, the USDA revised its surplus stocks figure for Sept. 1, 2013, higher from 619 million bushels forecast in October to 647 million bushels predicted this month.

The season-average farm price for corn, at $6.95 to $8.25 per bushel, is projected 20 cents lower at the midpoint, mostly reflecting a lower-than-expected September price and the continuation of weakness in cash and deferred futures prices over the past month.

National soybean production is forecast at 2.97 billion bushels, up 4 percent from October but down 4 percent from last year. Based on Nov. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 39.3 bushels per acre, up 1.5 bushels from last month but down 2.6 bushels from last year.

Compared with last month, yield forecasts are higher or unchanged across all states except for Oklahoma and Texas. Area for harvest is forecast at 75.7 million acres, unchanged from October and up 3 percent from last year.

The U.S. season-average soybean price range is projected at $13.90 to $15.90 per bushel, down 35 cents on each end of the range.

Soybean exports were raised 80 million bushels to 1.345 billion, reflecting larger supplies and the strong pace of sales through October. Soybean ending stocks are projected at 140 million bushels, up 10 million from last month.

Iowa corn production is forecast at 1.9 billion bushels, unchanged from October, but down 19 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of Nov. 1, Iowa’s corn for grain yield was forecast at 139 bushels per acre, down 1 bushel per acre from the October forecast.

The USDA forecast Iowa soybean production at 409 million bushels, down 14 percent from last year. Based on Nov. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 44 bushels per acre, up 1 bushel per acre from last month, but down 7.5 bushels per acre from 2011.

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