Record corn harvest projected, up 30% from 2012

Iowa farmers are projected to harvest 2.2 billion bushels of corn

The nation's corn farmers are projected to harvest a record 14 billion bushels this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The projected harvest is up 1 percent from the September forecast and is a 30 percent increase from 2012.

Corn futures for delivery in December rose 0.4 percent to $4.22 a bushel at midday on the Chicago Board of Trade, after touching $4.295, the highest for a most-active contract since Aug. 26. Before the report, prices tumbled to $4.155, the lowest since August 2010.

Don Roose, president of US Commodities in West Des Moines, said the USDA did not raise the corn harvest projection as high as some analysts had feared in the days leading up to the report.

"The numbers keep growing and growing until they reach a level that is just not achievable," Roose said. "I think that's what happened with this report, but it doesn't mean that the harvest figure can't go up when the next report comes out in January."

Based on conditions as of Nov. 1, corn yields are expected to average 160.4 bushels per acre, up 5.1 bushels from the September forecast and 37 bushels above the 2012 average. If realized, it will be the highest average yield since 2009.

Area harvested for grain is forecast at 87.2 million acres, down 1.9 million acres or 2 percent from the September forecast and down slightly from 2012. The USDA’s World Agriculture Supply and Demand Report said the reduction in harvest area is more than offset by a 5.1 bushel-per-acre increase in the forecast yield.

“Despite a late planted crop and July and August dryness across much of the Corn Belt, cooler-than-normal summer temperatures and an extended growing season have supported higher-than-expected yields for most producers,” the WASDE report said.

Iowa farmers are projected to harvest 2.2 billion bushels of corn, up 18 percent from 1.9 billion bushels in 2012.

Corn yields are expected to average 169 bushels per acre, 7 bushels above the September forecast and 32 bushels above the 2012 average. Area harvested for grain in Iowa is forecast at 13.1 million acres, down from 13.7 million acres in 2012.

For the first time since reporting began in 1866, the USDA was not able to provide an October crop production report or forecast due to the partial government shutdown.

The USDA on Friday lowered its projected season-average farm price range for corn 30 cents at both ends to $4.10 to $4.90 per bushel. Farmers are using on-farm grain bins to store supplies in hopes of selling later at higher prices.

Roose said farmers should have been expecting a lower profit this year as corn prices declined through the growing season.

"Grain agriculture pushed past the rest of the economy because we've had weather problems for four years in a row," Roose said. "We've also had a huge growth in ethanol and biofuel demand. All that is mature.

"This is a stock building year for corn in the U.S. and the world. Soybeans are still tight, but depends on what happens in South America."

Corn exports are projected to be 175 million bushels higher with larger supplies and lower prices that have increased the competitiveness of U.S. corn as indicated by strong outstanding export sales and rising export shipments in recent weeks. Ending stocks for 2013/14 are projected to be 32 million bushels higher at 1,887 million.

Soybean production is forecast at 3.26 billion bushels, up 3 percent from the September forecast and up 7 percent from last year. If realized, production will be the third largest on record.

Based on Nov. 1 conditions, the USDA said yields are expected to average 43 bushels per acre, up 1.8 bushels from the previous forecast and up 3.2 bushels from 2012. Area for harvest is forecast at 75.7 million acres, down 1 percent from both the September forecast and last year.

Iowa soybean production is projected at 415 million bushels, slightly above 2012 production and 2 percent above the September forecast. Soybean yield is forecast at 45 bushels per acre, up 2 bushels per acre from the previous forecast.

Planted acreage is estimated at 9.30 million acres with 9.23 million acres harvested, both down 200,000 acres from the September forecast.

The USDA raised soybean exports 80 million bushels to 1.45 billion bushels, reflecting increased supplies and the record pace of sales through late October. Soybean crush is raised 30 million bushels to 1.685 billion mostly due to increased soybean meal exports.

Soybean ending stocks are projected at 170 million bushels, up 20 million from the September forecast.

The USDA projected the season-average soybean price range at $11.15 to $13.15 per bushel, down 35 cents on both ends of the range. The soybean meal price is projected at $375 to $415 per short ton, up $15 on both ends of the range.

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