U.S. corn and soybean crops continue historic march
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, U.S. corn and soybean producers are again well on their way toward setting new highs in yield and production, according to USDA’s Aug. 12 Crop Production report. Last year’s corn crop broke a record, while the soybean crop was the third largest.
Corn production is forecast at 14 billion bushels, based on conditions as of Aug. 1. Yields are expected to average 167.4 bushels per acre, up 8.6 bushels from 2013. If realized, this will be the highest yield and production on record for the United States. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 83.8 million acres, unchanged from the June forecast but down 4 percent from 2013.
Market analyst Brian Basting, Advance Trading, said the corn production numbers “were a little below the average trade guess of 14.25 billion bushels. It’s a start, a mark on the wall. Historically, there have been significant changes over time relative to the August report.”
USDA’s estimated ending stocks for corn, at 1.8 billion bushels, was also well below the average trade guess of 2.03 billion bushels, according to Basting. “The key thing now is to see if we have some more export demand surface at these lower prices.”
Soybean production is forecast at a record 3.82 billion bushels, up 16 percent from last year. Based on Aug. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average a record 45.4 bushels per acre, up 2.1 bushels from last year. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at a record 84.1 million acres, unchanged from June but up 11 percent from last year.
Soybean carryout for 2014-15 was pegged at 430 million bushels “which is exactly triple the estimate for 2013-14, at 140 million bushels,” Basting said. “That is a burdensome carryout. The trade is going to be watching the weather the last three weeks of August. The southwestern Midwest did get some good rains recently which helped those double-cropped soybeans there. The soybean market is looking at what could be the largest soybean crop ever.”
Cotton production is forecast at 17.5 million bales, up 36 percent from last year. Yield is expected to average 820 pounds per harvested acre, down slightly from last year. Upland cotton production is forecast at 16.9 million bales, up 38 percent from 2013. Pima cotton production, forecast at 556,000 bales, is down 12 percent from last year. Producers expect to harvest 10.2 million acres of all cotton, up 36 percent from 2013. This harvest total includes 10.1 million acres of upland cotton and 175,900 acres of Pima cotton.
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While estimated average U.S. rice yield is down from 2013, dropping from 7,694 pounds to 7,560 pounds, total production rose from 189.89 million hundredweight to 228.78 million hundredweight, on higher acres. An increase long grain production more than offset a decrease in medium and short grain production.
Average yields declined in every U.S. rice-producing state except Texas, where yields are forecast at 8,600 pounds per acre.
Peanut production is forecast at 5.1 billion pounds, an increase over 4.174 billion pounds in 2013. Average yields declined slightly from 2013, from 4,006 pounds per acre to 3,964 pounds per acre. Mississippi peanut yields are projected at 3,500 pounds, unchanged from last year.
Grain sorghum production is projected at 429.3 million bushels, an increase over last year’s 389 million bushels. Average national yields are projected at 67.1 bushels per acre, compared to 59.6 bushels in 2013. In the Mid-South, Louisiana yields declined from 107 bushels per acre to 102 bushels per acre, Mississippi, climbed from 94 bushels in 2013 to 96 bushels, while Arkansas yields decreased from 102 bushels in 2013 to 83 bushels.