USDA Harvest Forecasts: Just Short of Last Year

In its September 11 report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s (USDA) crop production forecasts did not waiver much from the optimistic August report.

precision_harvestIn its September 11 report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) crop production forecasts did not waiver much from the optimistic August report. In its September 11 report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) crop production forecasts did not waiver much from the optimistic August report.

Corn was slightly down to 13.58 billion bushels estimated for this year’s production, with an expected average yield of 167.5 bushels per acre. These predictions fall short to 2014’s record production of 14.2 billion bushels harvested and the record yield of 171 bushels per acre. If the government’s predictions hold true, this year will claim the second highest yield and third largest production on record for the United States.

The slight drop in forecasts may mean the USDA has taken into account the recent dryness in parts of the Corn Belt as well as lingering damage from an overly wet spring. The lower estimates also gave an initial boost to corn futures, with the December delivery – the most actively traded contract – rising 3.4 percent to $3.87 a bushel at the CBT.

Soybean production is forecast at 3.94 billion bushels – up less than 1 percent from the prior month’s prediction. The yield is expected to average 47.1 bushels. Both estimates are just shy of last year’s record production of 3.97 billion bushels and yield of 47.8 bushels per acre.

Soybean futures also settled slightly higher, with the November contract – the most actively traded contract – rising to $8.7425 a bushel.

Based on forecasts in each state, Iowa will remain the nation’s top corn producing state, and Illinois will be the top producer for soybeans.

All cotton production is up 3 percent from August with a forecast of 13.4 million 480-pound bales, but that’s still 18 percent lower than 2014’s production of 16.1 million 480-pound bales. The yield is expected to average 789 pounds per harvest, which is also lower than last year’s harvest yield of 795 pounds per acre.