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USDA report shows more grain than earlier estimated

U.S. stocks of all grains and oilseeds are greater than the federal government and industry analysts had thought, according to several U.S. Department of Agriculture reports released Friday.

Predictably, that worked against crop prices Friday, though analysts say other factors, including the size of South America's crop, will influence prices, too.

According to USDA:

Corn

USDA projects the nation's 2017-18 year-ending stocks of corn at 2.477 billion bushels, compared with the average industry estimate of 2.431 billion bushels and the month-ago USDA estimate of 2.437 billion bushels.

The United States produced 14.6 billion bushels of corn in 2017, down 4 percent from the 2016 estimate, reflecting a decline in corn acres in 2017. But the reduced acreage was partially offset by record yield nationwide of 176.6 bushels per acre, 2 bushels higher than the previous year, USDA says.

The new 176.6-bushel-per-acre estimate is higher than the 175.4-bushel-per-acre estimate from USDA a month ago.

Soybeans

USDA projects the nation's 2017-18 year ending stocks of soybeans at 470 million bushels. That's less than the average industry estimate of 479 million bushels but more than the month-ago USDA estimate of 445 million bushels.

The 2017 soybean crop is pegged 43.9 billion bushels, 2 percent more in 2016. That increase reflects more acres, which more than offsets a drop in average yield per acre.

U.S. farmers raised an average of 49.1 bushels per acre of soybeans in 2017, USDA now says. That's less than the 49.5 bushels per acre average estimated by industry analysts and the 49.5 bushels per acre projected a month ago by USDA.

The 49.1 bushels per acre is 2.9 bushels less than the record set in 2016.

Wheat, other crops

USDA projects the nation's 2017-18 year ending stocks of wheat at 989 million bushels, more than the average industry estimate of 959 million bushels and the month-ago USDA estimate of 960 million bushels.

Even so, U.S. production of wheat and barley dropped sharply in 2017 from the previous year, according to USDA.

That partially reflects steep drops in per-acre yields in North Dakota, Montana and South Dakota, which were hurt with drought in 2017 and which are major producers of wheat and barley.

The drought also hurt per-acre yields and overall production of sunflowers and flax. North Dakota dominates the nation's flax production, and the Dakotas are the leading sunflower producers.

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