USDA on Friday raised its estimate for corn and soybean production, citing record or near-record yields. Futures fell following the reports.

Farmers will harvest 14.586 billion bushels of corn, USDA said in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, up 356 million bushels from its July projection while down slightly from last year’s output of 14.604 billion bushels. The national yield per harvested acre is projected at a record 178.4 bushels, the first survey-based estimate of the year. That’s 4.4 bushels higher than last month’s trend-based projection. Record yields are forecast for Alabama, Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Tennessee. The season-average corn price received by producers is down 20 cents at the midpoint at a range of $3.10 to $4.10 per bushel.

Soybean production is forecast at 4.586 billion bushels, up 276 million from July on higher yields. The first survey-based soybean yield forecast of 51.6 bushels per acre is 3.1 bushels above last month and 2.5 bushels above last year. Record yields are forecast for Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Exports of the oilseed are seen at 2.060 billion bushels, up slightly from a month ago, but down from last year’s shipments of 2.110 billion bushels, as shippers begin to feel affects from the Trump trade war. The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2018/19 is forecast at $8.90 per bushel at the midpoint, down 35 cents from last month. U.S. soybean supplies are expected to hit a record 5.04 billion bushels next year.

“They are big yields,” said Seth Meyers, who chairs the World Agricultural Outlook Board, which publicizes the WASDE. “But remember, the growing season is far from over, and things can change. The crop is not done yet, and the yield forecast is not a static measurement.”

Other highlights from the report:

  • WHEAT: Estimated production is cut by 4 million bushels to 1.877 billion bushels on slight reductions in the winter wheat, durum and other spring wheat harvests. World supplies for the 2018-2019 crop year are reduced by 7.1 million tons, primarily on lower EU production. The projected season-average farm price is up 10 cents per bushel at the midpoint with the range at $4.60 to $5.60.
  • RICE: U.S. production is lowered 2.1 million hundredweight (cwt) to 210.9 million cwt on the first survey-based yield forecast of the 2018-2019 season. Exports are lowered 4 million cwt to 98 million on a lack of price competitiveness relative to both Asian and South American exporters. The all rice season-average farm price is lowered 20 cents per cwt at the midpoint to a range of $11.40 to $12.40.
  • COTTON: Production is estimated at 19.24 million bales, on the season’s first survey-based forecast. That’s up 4 percent from July but down 8 percent from 20.92 million bales produced in the previous season. The midpoint of the marketing-year-average price is unchanged from last month, at 75 cents per pound.

The WASDE and the USDA’s monthly Crop Production reports were released today under a new system. Instead of media outlets having early access to the reports before posting stories, the reports were released on-line to everyone at noon Washington time.

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