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Corn crop estimates vary

Updated: 09/06/2011 @ 2:52pm

DES MOINES, Iowa (Agriculture.com)--The U.S. corn and soybean 2011 crops seem to be definitely smaller than everyone first thought, market watchers say. 

For corn, conventional wisdom has the U.S. estimate smaller than the USDA's last estimate of 153 bushels per acre. Recent private estimates have the U.S. corn yield ranging from 143-151 bushels per acre.

Corn crop estimates

On Tuesday, though its estimate is higher than previous private guesses, Informa Economics, a private analytical firm, released a corn yield estimate of 151 bushels per acre. That is still below the USDA's previous estimate in August. Informa's corn number compares to Allendale Inc.'s estimate of 147.7, FC Stone's estimate of 146.3 bu./acre and Lanworth Inc.'s 143 bu./acre. 

Joe Bedore,  FC Stone's CME Group floor manager, says the markets have held up nicely Tuesday, despite a bearish crop number by Informa. It gets down to whom you want to believe, he says.

"I have had a lot of talks with farmers lately. Their description of the corn crop is more of a 146-147 yield vs. the Informa number that came in over 150. So, from what I hear and the farmers I talk with, I see a U.S. corn crop around 12.1 billion bushels."

Because so many private firms are playing around with their yield estimates, it might be more important to stay focused on production numbers, Bedore says. The production number takes into account both yield and harvested acres.

On Tuesday, Informa Economics lowered its estimate for the corn harvest to 12.711 billion bushels from 13.353 billion bushels forecast in August and 13.759 billion bushels projected in July.

Analysts React

Jason Ward, Northstar Commodity analyst, says the majority of the crop estimates have been friendly to prices, thus supporting prices at these lofty levels. 

"We think that prices are trading a yield around 150 bushels/acre for corn and 40.5 bushels/acre for soybeans. Informa’s bean number today was a little bearish."

Ward adds, "I think the crop estimates from USDA, next Monday, will be digested quickly and we return quickly to outside financials and actual on the ground yield reports which should start to come in next week." 

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