USDA trimmed its estimates for the corn and soybean crops on Thursday, citing lower yields for corn and a smaller harvested area for soybeans.
Corn production is forecast at 14.778 billion bushels, down 49 million bushels from the September estimate, USDA said today in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. The average national yield is projected at 180.7 bushels per acre, down from the estimate of 181.3 a month earlier.
Nevertheless, “If realized, this will be the highest yield and second-highest production on record from the U.S.,” the department said in a separate Crop Production report. Last year's yield of 176.6 bu/a set a record.
Even with a smaller crop, USDA is predicting record corn supplies, citing an increase in beginning stocks based on its Sept. 28 Grain Stocks report. Exports are raised 75 million bushels, to 2.475 billion bushels, “reflecting U.S. price competitiveness and reduced exports for Russia,” USDA said in the WASDE. Cash prices will range from $3 to $4 a bushel, unchanged from the September estimate.
Soybean farmers will harvest 4.690 billion bushels, down from 4.693 billion predicted in September, according to the WASDE, as a higher national yield is more than offset by a smaller harvested area. The yield is projected at a record 53.1 bushels per acre, up 0.3 bushels from the September forecast. Harvested area is reduced 600,000 acres to 88.3 million. Soybean supplies for 2018/19 are also projected at a record 5.153 billion bushels on higher beginning stocks. With soybean use unchanged, ending stocks are projected at 885 million bushels. The 2018/19 season-average price is forecast at $7.35 to $9.85 a bushel, unchanged at the midpoint from last month.
The production estimates for corn and soybeans were both below average trade estimates, corn by about 40 million bushels and soybeans by just over 20 million.
As of Oct. 7, about 34 percent of the nation’s corn crop had been harvested, well above the previous five-year average of 26 percent, according to a separate report on Crop Progress released earlier this week. The soybean harvest was 32 percent complete, compared with the previous five-year average of 36 percent.
In other highlights from the WASDE and the Crop Production Report:
WHEAT: Wheat production is raised 7 million bushels to 1.884 billion from the NASS Small Grains Summary, issued on Sept. 28. Projected ending stocks are higher at 956 million bushels but still 13 percent below last year’s revised 1.099 billion. The season-average farm price range is unchanged at the midpoint of $5.10 per bushel and the range is narrowed to $4.80 to $5.40.
RICE: Estimated production for 2018-19 is reduced 700,000 hundredweight (cwt) to 218.8 million cwt on lower yields. The all-rice season-average farm price is unchanged at a range of $11.20 to $12.20 per cwt with the midpoint at $11.70.
COTTON: Production is estimated at 19.76 million bales, up from 19.68 million projected in September, with bigger harvests forecast from Texas and Georgia largely offset by lower production in the Carolinas. The estimates do not reflect any effect on the crops from Hurricane Michael.
ORANGES: Florida’s orange harvest is bouncing back from the effects of Hurricane Irma last year. The Florida all-orange forecast, at 79 million boxes, is up 76 percent from last season’s final utilization, today's Crop Production report said. The U.S. all-orange forecast for the 2018-2019 season is 5.62 million tons, up 43 percent from the 2017-2018 final utilization.
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