According to USDA, U.S. growers will produce a smaller rice crop this year.

USDA’s first survey-based forecast of the 2006-07 U.S. rice crop is 197.2 million hundredweight, down almost 3 million hundredweight from last month’s projection, and down 26 million hundredweight from 2005-06.

Average yield is forecast at 6,813 pounds per acre, down 95 pounds per acre from last month. Long- grain production is forecast at 147.9 million hundredweight, down 6.1 million hundredweight from last month, while combined medium- and short-grain production is forecast at 49.3 million hundredweight, 3.3 million hundredweight above last month.

U.S. 2006-07 exports are projected at 97 million hundredweight, down 3 million hundredweight from last month. Domestic and residual use is nearly unchanged from a month ago. Ending stocks are projected at 22.7 million hundredweight, down slightly from last month.

The season- average farm price is projected at $9.25 to $9.75, up 10 cents per hundredweight on each end from last month.

World 2006-07 rice production is projected at a record 417.8 million tons, 500,000 tons below last month. The decline in the world rice crop is due primarily to reduced production in Vietnam, North Korea, and the United States, which is partially offset by an increase for Thailand. World 2006-07 ending stocks are projected at 79 million tons, nearly the same as last month.

e-mail: erobinson@farmpress.com