U.S. farmers to harvest record-large corn crop, second-largest soy crop, USDA says

Estimates don't include impact of recent Midwest storm

(USDA.gov via Flickr)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. farmers will reap their biggest corn harvest and their second biggest soybean harvest this fall as good summer weather shepherded the crops through key phases of development, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Wednesday.

The crop outlooks, which also included average yields for both corn and soybeans as the largest on record, topped trade expectations.

USDA also raised its ending stocks view for both crops despite bumping its export forecast for corn and soybeans by 75 million bushels following a spate of purchases by China.

“Even with the super-strong demand showing from China and others… It will be hard to move enough crop to materially dent the impending stocks, because there is so much of it around,” said Jack Scoville, analyst with the Price Futures Group in Chicago.

U.S. corn production was pegged at 15.278 billion bushels, based on an average yield of 181.8 bushels per acre. USDA also forecast soybean production of 4.425 billion bushels, based on an average yield of 53.3 bushels per acre.

The market shrugged off the massive harvest outlooks, with futures prices showing little response when the data was released.

USDA said the production estimates were based on conditions as of Aug. 1, and did not include the impact of a derecho storm that potentially impacted some 10 million acres of Iowa farmland.

“Even if you take the top end of the yield damage, that’s still not a game changer given how big this corn crop is expected to be,” said Don Roose of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.

The government predicted corn end stocks at 2.756 billion bushels, up from its July forecast for 2.648 billion. That would be the biggest since 1988. Soybean stocks were seen at 610 million bushels, 185 million bushels higher than July.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago; additional reporting by P.J. Huffstutter.

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