USDA drops corn production numbers slightly from August

USDA drops corn production numbers slightly from August

Numbers cut less than trader expectations

U.S. corn production is forecast at 10.7 billion bushels, down less than 1 percent from the August forecast and down 13 percent from 2011 numbers, according to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Traders were expecting a cut of nearly 4 percent.

This represents the lowest production in the U.S. since 2006, and will leave the smallest surplus since 1996. Still, the surplus will be 24 percent larger than trade expectation, according to reports. Based on conditions as of September 1, yields are expected to average 122.8 bushels per acre, down 0.6 bushel from the August forecast and 24.4 bushels below the 2011 average. If realized, this will be the lowest average yield since 1995. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 87.4 million acres, unchanged from the August forecast but up 4 percent from 2011.

Soybean production is forecast at 2.63 billion bushels, down 2 percent from August — twice what traders expected — and down 14 percent from 2011, according to the report. Based on September 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 35.3 bushels per acre, down 0.8 bushel from August and down 6.2 bushels from 2011 numbers. Compared with August predictions, yield forecasts are lower or unchanged across the Great Plains and most of the Corn Belt as lingering drought conditions continued to hamper yield expectations. Area for harvest in the U.S. is forecast at 74.6 million acres, unchanged from August but up 1 percent from 2011.