U.S.D.A. forecasts larger corn, smaller soybean crops

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast 2007 corn production at a record 13,308 million bus, up 2% from its August forecast and up 26% from 2006. U.S. soybean production was forecast at 2,619 million bus, down slightly from August and down 18% from a year ago. (Click here to read report.)

Wheat production estimates will be updated in the U.S.D.A.’s Small Grains Summary to be released Sept. 28.

Average corn yield based on Sept. 1 conditions was forecast at 155.8 bus per acre, up 3 bus from August, up 6.7 bus from a year ago and second only to the 2004 record high of 160.4 bus. Corn yields were forecast above August levels across the northern and central Great Plains and Corn Belt, the U.S.D.A. said. Harvested area was unchanged from August at 85.4 million acres, which was up 21% from 2006 and the largest area since 1933.

Soybean yields were forecast to average 41.4 bus per acre, down 0.1 bus from August and 1.3 bus below a year ago. Lower soybean yields were forecast across the central Corn Belt, the Tennessee Valley and the Southeast compared with August, the U.S.D.A. said. Harvested area was forecast at 63.3 million acres, down 20,000 acres from August and 15% below last year’s record large area.

The corn production and yield forecasts were above pre-report trade expectations that averaged 13,128 million bus and 153.7 bus per acre, respectively. The U.S.D.A. soybean crop and yield forecasts were below average trade estimates of 2,650 million bus and 41.9 bus per acre, respectively.

Sorghum production was forecast at 495 million bus, up 4% from the August forecast and up 78% from 2006. Yield was forecast at a record 73.9 bus per acre, up 3 bus from August and up 17.7 bus from last year, the U.S.D.A. said.

The U.S. rice crop was forecast at 192 million hundredweight, up 1% from August but down 1% from 2006.

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