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

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast 2007 corn production at a record 13,318 million bus, up 10 million bus from its September forecast and up 2,783 million bus, or 26%, from 2006. U.S. soybean production was forecast at 2,598 million bus, down 21 million bus from September and down 590 million bus, or 19%, from the record large crop of a year ago.

The U.S.D.A. corn and soybean production and yield forecasts all were below average trade expectations.

Average corn yield based on Oct. 1 conditions was forecast at 154.7 bus per acre, down 1.1 bus from September but up 5.6 bus from a year ago and second only to the 2004 record high yield of 160.4 bus. Harvested area was forecast at 86.1 million acres, up 653,000 acres from September, up 15 million acres, or 22%, from 2006 and the largest area since 1933.

"Forecast yields are higher than last year across the Great Plains, central Corn Belt and Delta where adequate rainfall during much of the season provided favorable growing conditions," the U.S.D.A. said. "Expected yields across the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, Northeast and mid-Atlantic states are down from last year as drought conditions during much of the growing season reduced soil moisture levels and stressed the crop."

Oct. 1 objective yield data indicated the number of corn ears per acre was record large for Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

Soybean yields were forecast to average 41.4 bus per acre, unchanged from September but 1.3 bus below a year ago. Harvested area was forecast at 62.8 million acres, down 447,000 acres from September and down 11.8 million acres, or 16%, from last year’s record large area.

"Compared with last month, yields are forecast lower in Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Wisconsin and most of the Atlantic coast states," the U.S.D.A. said. "Hot, dry conditions continued to cause most of the decline, especially in Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Virginia and the Carolinas, all down at least 2 bus (per acre) from last month."

But yields increased from September in Iowa, Ohio, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota and most of the Gulf coast states.

Sorghum production was forecast at 501 million bus, up 6.7 million bus from the September forecast and up 224 million bus, or 81%, from 2006. Yield was forecast at 74.8 bus per acre, up 0.9 bu from September, up 18.6 bus, or 33%, from 2006 and the largest on record if realized. Area for harvest was forecast at 6.7 million acres, up 4,000 acres from September and up 1.8 million acres, or 36%, from 2006.

The U.S. rice crop was forecast at 197 million hundredweight, up 5 million cwt from September and up 3 million cwt from 2006. Rice yield was forecast record large at 7,215 lbs per acre, up 191 lbs from September and up 347 lbs from 2006. Harvested area was forecast at 2.73 million acres, unchanged from September but down 90,000 acres, or 3%, from 2006.

In its first forecast of the season, the U.S.D.A. forecast production of all types of sunflowerseed at 2,892 million lbs, up 748 million lbs, or 35%, from 2006, but down 1,126 million lbs, or 28%, from 2005. The U.S.D.A. did not break out oil type and non-oil type sunflowerseed production in its October report.

Canola production was forecast at 1,501 million lbs, up 107 million lbs, or 8%, from 2006 but down 80 million lbs, or 5%, from 2005.

Peanut production in 2007 was forecast at 3,419 million lbs, up 3% from the September forecast but down 45 million lbs, or 1%, from 2006.

Sugar beet production was forecast at 30.4 million tons, up 1% from September but down 3.7 million tons, or 11%, from 34.1 million tons 2006. Harvested area was forecast at 1.24 million acres, unchanged from September, down 5% from 2006 and the smallest since 2001. Yield was forecast at 24.5 tons per acre, up 0.3 ton from September and second only to last year’s record high yield of 26.1 tons per acre.

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