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Farmers cry foul on USDA crop data

Jeff Caldwell 09/12/2012 @ 10:10am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

In Wednesday's Crop Production report, USDA officials didn't change their expectations much for this year's corn and soybean crops. Harvested acres were left unchanged and basic bushel numbers were decreased just slightly, adding up to a mostly bearish combination for corn and mostly bullish for soybeans, analysts said Wednesday morning after the report's release.

But, those numbers don't quite add up, many farmers said after seeing the report Wednesday. Though analysts say more old-crop bushels in farmers' hands are keeping a pipeline filled that, along with lower export and feed demand, will keep the bottom from falling out of corn stocks in general, farmers say even if that's the case, this year's yields are simply too inconsistent and low to make the equation add up for much longer.

"The bean numbers I can live with. The whole corn numbers thing is hog wash," says Agriculture.com Marketing Talk senior contributor Hobbyfarmer. "Way too many reports of 130-ish yields out of the best of corn country. Then, there are the 40-bushel reports out of some areas. The pre-sold bushels and harvest will kick the can down the road for another 3 to 4 months."

What will happen when we reach that can again? That's when those farmers who agree that harvested acres will be the key numbers to watch moving forward say the demand rationing that's already happened will be far from enough.

"Someone explain to me how most yields are averaging 75 bushels an acre and yet we still have 122-bushel yields. And that's not bullish? We thought that we had to have 166 earlier this year, now the trade is satisfied with 122?" says Marketing Talk senior contributor highyields. "10.7 was a lot of corn back 10 years ago. Today, it's not enough. When prices fall, do you think the livestock industry will still shrink? There goes the hopes of those Brazilian farmers shipping corn to the U.S. Ethanol for sure won't stop. This is not rationing demand. The industry is in denial about this short corn crop. It's ridiculous."

Still, there remain others who aren't as bullish and believe, though USDA's numbers released Wednesday may not be exactly accurate, they still foreshadow an eventual turn lower in prices, a move that could warrant some repositioning in the marketplace.

"The USDA may be wrong and all you bulls out there are right, but you better not be long. Even if we run out of corn next week, I doubt if corn goes much above the all-time high," says Marketing Talk frequent contributor vandenplas. "As I have said before, we will see $4 corn in the not too distant future -- within 12-24 months -- or less."

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