Small declines seen in latest crop production outlook
USDA updated 2012 harvest expectations in its Crop Production report, released Sept. 12, estimating small declines from projections from a month ago.
• Corn production is forecast at 10.7 billion bushels, down less than 1% from the August forecast and down 13% from 2011. This represents the lowest U.S. production since 2006.
Based on conditions as of Sept. 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. The Sept. 1 corn objective yield data indicate the lowest number of ears per acre since 2005 for the combined 10 objective yield states (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin).
Area harvested for grain is forecast at 87.4 million acres, unchanged from the August forecast, but up 4% from 2011.
Nationwide, producers had harvested 10% of the corn crop by Sept. 2, 7% ahead of both last year and the 5-year average pace. As of Sept. 2, only 22% of the corn acreage was rated in good to excellent condition in the 18 major producing States, down 2% from one month earlier and down 30% compared to the same time last year. Fifty-two percent of the acreage was rated in very poor to poor condition, compared to only 21% rated in these two categories last year at this time.
According to USDA’s World Ag Supply & Demand Estimates report, also released Sept. 12, the 2011/12 estimated season-average corn price is $6.25/bushel, with the projected range for the 2012/13 season lowered 30¢ on both ends of the range compared to a month ago, to $7.20-$8.60/bushel.
• Soybean production is forecast at 2.63 billion bushels, down 2% from August and down 14% from last year.
Based on Sept. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 35.3 bushels per acre, down 0.8 bushel from last month and down 6.2 bushels from last year. Compared with last month, 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. The September objective yield data for the combined 11 major soybean-producing states (Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota) indicate a lower pod count compared with last year, as hot, dry weather during bloom hampered development of the crop in many areas. Compared with final counts for 2011, pod counts are down in all published states. The largest decrease from 2011’s final pod count is expected in Nebraska, down 735 pods per 18 square feet. If realized, the forecasted yield in Arkansas, Mississippi, and North Carolina will be a record high.
Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at 74.6 million acres, unchanged from August, but up 1% from last year. Harvested area, if realized, will be the fourth largest on record.
As of Sept. 2, 30% of the U.S. soybean crop was rated in good to excellent condition, 26% behind the same week in 2011. During August, good to excellent ratings decreased across the western Corn Belt and into the northern and central Great Plains, but increased in 11 of the 18 published states as beneficial rain fell during the month. Increases in condition ratings of 10% or more occurred in Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee during August.
The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2012/13 is projected unchanged at $15.00-$17.00/bushel, compared to a 2011/12 season-average price of $12.45/bushel. Soybean meal prices are projected at $485-$515/ton, up $25.00 on both ends of the range compared to last month’s forecast, and up from the 2011/12 season-average price of $397/ton.
• 2012 cottonseed production was forecast at 5.810 million tons, down 202,000 tons from August’s projections, but still 8% more than a year ago.
• There was no update on dry hay production.