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Pro Farmer sees U.S. corn harvest smaller than gov't outlook, soy harvest bigger

By Julie Ingwersen

ROCHESTER, Minn., Aug 26 (Reuters) - U.S. corn production will fall below government forecasts as hot and dry weather robbed the crop of its harvest potential, advisory service Pro Farmer, a division of Farm Journal Media, said on Friday after a tour of seven major production states.

But Pro Farmer projected the soybean harvest will be slightly bigger than the U.S. Agriculture Department's record outlook.

Pro Farmer projected that farmers would harvest a corn crop of 13.759 billion bushels, which would be the smallest since 2019, based on an average yield of 168.1 bushels per acre and a soybean crop of 4.535 billion bushels based on an average yield of 51.7 bushels per acre.

Crops, particularly in drought stricken areas west of the Mississippi River, struggled throughout critical periods of development this summer due to the heat and dry soils.

"The crop hasn't gotten better in the eastern Corn Belt from Aug. 1," said Chip Flory, a tour leader. "It might have come back just a bit. In the West, the crop has gone backwards since Aug. 1. So, no, there is no way, I don't think, that the East makes up for the West."

Bumper U.S. crops are needed to help replenish global stockpiles. Soy supplies have been tightened by surging demand for livestock feed and renewable fuel while the world corn export market has been disrupted for six months following Russia's invasion of major producer Ukraine.

USDA's most recent forecast, issued on Aug. 12, called for a corn crop of 14.359 billion bushels, based on an average yield of 175.4 bushels per acre. The government also predicted that the soybean harvest would be 4.531 billion bushels, with average yields seen at 51.9 bushels per acre.

A year ago, Pro Farmer projected a U.S. corn crop of 15.116 billion bushels and a soybean crop of 4.436 billion bushels. USDA's harvest figures for the 2021/22 marketing year came in at 15.115 billion for corn and 4.435 billion for soybeans. (Additional reporting by Mark Weinraub in Chicago; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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