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USDA raises corn crop on record yields in smaller output areas

By Mark Weinraub

WASHINGTON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture
Department on Thursday bumped up its domestic corn production
outlook as record yields in areas outside the major producing
states boosted the size of the overall harvest.

The government also lowered its outlook for the soybean
yield from its September forecast but left the total production
view for the oilseed largely unchanged due to increased
harvested acres.

In its monthly crop production report, USDA pegged the corn
harvest at 14.280 billion bushels, based on an average yield of
171.8 bushels per acre. That compares with its September
forecasts of 14.184 billion bushels and an average yield of
169.9 bushels per acre.

USDA said it expected record yields in Alabama, Georgia,
Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania,
South Carolina and Tennessee, all of which are outside the main
crop belt. It also raised its yield outlook in key producing
states such as Illinois, Iowa and Indiana.

The soybean harvest was seen at a record 4.431 billion
bushels with yields trimmed by 0.4 bushels per acre to 49.5
bushels per acre. Harvested acres were raised to 89.471 million
from 88.731 million.

Analysts had been expecting a corn harvest of 14.204 billion
bushels on a yield of 170.1 bushels per acre and a soybean
harvest of 4.447 billion bushels on a yield of 50.0 bushels per
acre, based on the average of estimates given in a Reuters
survey.

USDA also raised its outlook for U.S. corn ending stocks to
2.340 billion bushels, up 5 million bushels from September. That
compares with market expectations for ending stocks of 2.289
billion bushels.

Wheat ending stocks also were raised, to 960 million
bushels, with the USDA citing increased usage of corn, which is
expected to cut into demand for wheat in the feed and residual
sector. Analysts, on average, had expected wheat ending stocks
of 946 million bushels.

Soybean ending stocks for 2017/18 were lowered to 430
million bushels from 475 million bushels. USDA increased the
usage in the residual category for the 2016/17 crop year, which
cut into the supplies at the start of the 2017/18 crop year.

On the global front, USDA raised its 2017/18 wheat stocks
outlook to 268.13 million tonnes, above the range of analysts'
forecasts. It lowered its corn ending stocks view to 200.96
million tonnes and cut its soybean ending stocks view to 96.05
million tonnes. Both the world corn and soy ending stocks
projections were in line with the range of market forecasts.

(Reporting by Mark Weinraub; Editing by Paul Simao)

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