USDA sees record U.S. crops
U.S. farmers are likely to produce a record 14.53 billion bushels of corn and a record 3.405 billion bushels of soybeans in 2013, U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief Economist Joseph Glauber said Thursday.
Assuming normal weather conditions, the USDA expects a full recovery this year from severe drought that battered crops last year, Mr. Glauber said.
"A dry summer in 2012 has little implication for summer precipitation in 2013," Mr. Glauber said in a speech at the USDA's annual outlook forum, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.
Farmers are likely to plant 96.5 million acres of corn and 77.5 million acres of soybeans this year, he said. Last year, farmers planted 97.2 million acres of corn and produced 10.78 billion bushels. For soybeans, they planted 77.2 million acres and produced 3.015 billion bushels last year.
Last year's drought in the U.S., by some measures the country's worst since the 1930s, widely battered crops and sent corn and soybean prices soaring to nominal all-time records in the late summer. Soybean prices later eased as rains late in the growing season helped crops recover somewhat from the dryness, and corn prices eased as the high prices choked off demand.
This year, bumper crops will fill historically low stockpiles across the country, pushing down prices, Mr. Glauber said. He forecast prices paid to farmers for corn in the 2013-14 marketing year will average $4.80 a bushel, while soybean prices will average $10.50 a bushel.
Drought conditions have improved but are still present in the Midwest. Dryness is also severe in much of the southern Plains, where the drought will threaten wheat crops set to come out of dormancy this spring.
Mr. Glauber also said farmers would plant 56 million acres of wheat and produce 2.1 billion bushels of the grain. U.S. farmers planted 55.7 million acres of wheat and produced 2.27 billion bushels in 2012-13.
The forecasts are based on USDA analysis, not on a survey of farmers.
-By Owen Fletcher and Bill Tomson, Dow Jones Newswires; 312 750 4120, firstname.lastname@example.org
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 21, 2013 09:03 ET (14:03 GMT)