Despite slow corn planting, record crop in US still possible

USDA figures indicate 14 billion acres can be harvested

Weather conditions have slowed the 2013 planting season, but the United States Department of Agriculture is still expecting a record corn harvest.

According to the figures released June 12 in the agency’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, the 2013 forecast calls for just more than 14 billion bushels havested. That estimate is down 135 million bushels from the May forecast, but still enough for a record crop, signaling a rebound in poultry and livestock feed inventories.

Ninety-five percent of the 2013 corn crop was planted as of June, but later-planted corn faces the risk of pollination during seasonally warmer temperatures and drier weather expected in late July, which could reduce the yield. June’s report projected 156.5 bushels per acre for 2013, down 1.5 bushels per acre from May.

The report also reduced projected corn use by 70 million bushels.

American Farm Bureau Federation economist Todd Davis said the WASDE report still predicts ending stocks to build significantly over the 2012-13 marketing year levels, and that increase will cause prices to fall to $4.80 for the 2013-14 marketing year, compared to $6.95 per bushel during the 2012-13 year.

The report showed no change in planted or harvested acres for corn or soybeans as the World Agricultural Outlook Board waits for the release of the acreage survey, on June 28.

“Trade projections are that about 2 million acres will not be planted to corn this year due to the late season rains and unusually cold weather,” said Davis. “Instead, it is expected that soybean planted acres will increase as farmers plant the crop instead of late planted corn.”

U.S. soybean ending stocks are also still expected to more than double from 125 million bushels in the 2012-13 marketing year to 265 million bushels in 2013-14. The increase will drop the 2013-14 projected soybean price to $10.80 per bushel, down from $14.35 in the 2012-13 marketing year.

Davis said the weather will keep the market captivated during the next three months in an attempt to better understand what proportion of the corn crop was planted later than normal and is at risk of pollinating during adverse conditions.