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USDA Outlook: Record corn yield

Updated: 02/24/2011 @ 2:50pm

CHICAGO, Illinois (Agriculture.com)--The USDA sees a record output for 2011-12 corn, with an increase of acreage and yield, according to its economist's estimates released Thursday.

At its annual Outlook Conference, the USDA updated its crop estimates, leaving the major numbers unchanged from its monthly report February 14.

USDA Economist released these updated crop estimates at this morning's Outlook Conference:

  • 2011-12 U.S. corn acres seen at 92.0 million, soybean acres at 78 million.
  • 2011-12 U.S. Soy Ending Stocks at 160 million bushels.
  • 2011-12 Soybean crop size at 3.345 billion bushels.
  • 2011-12 Soybean exports at 1.575 billion bushels.
  • 2011-12 Corn yield estimated at 164.7 bu./acre.
  • 2011-12 Corn ending stocks at 865 million bushels.
  • 2011-12 corn use for ethanol at 5.0 billion bushels. That's 36% of this year's crop.
  • 2011-12 Corn crop size estimated at a record 13.73 billion bushels, vs. 12.45 last fall.
  • 2011-12 Wheat crop size at 2.08 billion bushels.
  • Total planted acres for 8 major crops seen at 255 million acres.
  • 2011-12 U.S. agricultural exports at a record $135.5 billion, beating 2008 exports.
  • 2011-12 U.S. agricultural imports at $88 billion.

Overall, the economist sees supplies remaining tight this year, due to biofuels and demand.


Jack Scoville, PRICE Futures Group vice-president, says the USDA estimates are bullish.  "I think USDA could easily be wrong about the acres, they are high but possible.  The corn yield is high, but they (USDA) will use a trendline type analysis.  But the demand is there and I think that is what you have to take away from this.  We will use the production, so we better get it."

Early reaction from Agriculture.com Marketing Talk has some farmers surprised mostly about the government's would-be record 164.7 corn yield.

"Looks like the USDA is trying to balance the corn carryout by predicting a record yield. That 164.7 bu/ac is a long shot, as it would also be a new record U.S. corn yield. They did this last year predicting about 162 and we ended up with an average around 154. Yeah, all these new hybrids are very impressive but there are a lot of things that need to happen perfectly with planting dates and weather to even get close to 164," SouthWestOhio wrote.

Highyields says the corn yield seems a little high since most increased acres of corn will come from outside the Corn Belt except the preventive planting acres. "I don't believe there will be too much shift away from pasture or alfalfa that hasn't already happened.  Both cattle and alfalfa have an excellent price right now."

Can the acres of winter wheat out west that haven't emerged yet be planted to sorghum or corn?  Will the weather allow the farmers to get into the fields and plant the corn at proper times this spring, Highyields asks.

Highyields adds, "The trade can trade these numbers but the truth is there isn't enough corn to get us through the summer. My local ethanol plant has a $7.00 bid up for this summer. We could raise as much corn as what the USDA predicts but will we remains the question.  The word IF is the highest priced word in the world when dealing with commodity markets,  In order to raise that high of an average yield, you need above average weather throughout ALL of the nation this next summer."

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