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USDA crop numbers high & bearish

Jeff Caldwell 01/12/2012 @ 7:34am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

The 2011 average corn yield was 147.2 bushels/acre and 41.5 bushels/acre for soybeans, according to Thursday's USDA annual Crop Production report.

That means a corn crop of 12.4 billion bushels, up slightly from the November estimate, while the U.S. will raise 3.06 billion bushels of soybeans, up slightly from the November estimate.

The figures for both crops are likely bearish -- possibly as much as limit-down for Thursday's open -- with each falling toward the high side of previous trade estimates. Traders expected a range of 12.170-12.375 billion bushels for corn and 3.010-3.080 billion bushels for soybeans. Previous trade corn average yield estimate ran between 145.3 and 147.5 bushels/acre and 41 to 41.8 bushels for soybeans.

The numbers are very reminiscent of 2009 and 2010, says U.S. Commodities trader and analyst Don Roose, especially 2009 when weather worries had the grains trending higher until the January report, which ultimately triggered the grains' highs.

"Part of the reason for these yield numbers is we had a good fall and test weights were high," Roose said Thursday morning. "The outside markets are firm, which will lend a little support. But, knowing the volatility of these reports, it's reasonable to think that we'll trade limit-down."

Roose adds USDA was relatively conservative with its world grain stocks numbers, which he says will likely continue to trend lower.

"The government didn't ratchet them down as much as they could have. Those numbers probably will continue to come down," he adds. "Look at the stocks for corn and beans and look at the world carryout and it certainly changes the face of this one."

USDA pegged U.S. corn stocks at 9.64 billion bushels, down 4% from a year ago. Soybeans are seen 4% lower than last year at 2.37 billion bushels.

   

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