Significant production declines in several key provinces have reduced the Chinese corn crop by about 256 million bushels, to approximately 139 million metric tons, or 5.5 billion bushels, according to Todd Meyer, U.S. Grains Council senior director in China.

Meyer and Gary Clark of the Missouri Corn Growers Association and Missouri Corn Merchandising Council toured corn fields in the North China Plain and Northeast regions as part of USGC’s annual China corn tour. These regions account for nearly 70 percent of China’s overall corn production. USGC has sponsored the tour for several years due to lack of reliable and timely information from sources inside China.

Meyer noted the China National Grain and Oils Information Center has not changed its crop estimate of 149 million tons (5.8 billion bushels) since mid-spring.

“On the other hand, a private Chinese grain market information service, who traveled with us on the tour, put the crop at 134 million to 135 million tons (5.27 billion to 5.3 billion bushels) in an estimate released after our tour completed. I think 139 million tons is backed up by the data that we collected and general impressions that we heard from producers along the way.”

Kernel weights, which are not yet available, have a significant impact on yield estimates. Based on his observations made during the tour, Meyer believes kernel weights are likely to be low due to the heat, drought stress and a shorter than usual growing season.

e-mail: erobinson@farmpress.com