USDA  is expected to cut its estimate of the U.S. corn  crop by 15% and lower its forecast for the soybean  crop by 7.6% when it releases its first survey estimate of 2012 production on Friday morning.
The U.S. corn crop is expected to be the smallest in six years. Trade estimates of the U.S. corn crop average 11.026 billion bushels in a range from 9.860 billion to 11.891 billion bushels, compared with USDA’s July projection of 12.970 billion and last year’s 12.358-billion-bushel crop, according to a survey of 21 analysts taken by Reuters News Service.
The U.S. soybean crop is expected to be the smallest in five years. Pre-report estimates of the U.S. soybean crop average 2.817 billion bushels in a range from 2.696 billion to 2.963 billion bushels versus USDA’s July forecast of 3.050 billion bushels and last year’s 3.056-billion-bushel crop.
The U.S. corn yield is expected to fall to the lowest level since 1997. Trade estimates of the national yield average 127.3 bu./acre in a range from 117.6 to 135.0 bu. compared with USDA’s July forecast of 146 bu. and last year’s 147.2-bu. yield.
If it matches the average of trade estimates, the U.S. average yield would be 22.3% below USDA's trend-line forecast of 164 bu./acre. Back in the last severe drought year of 1988, the corn yield fell about 27.5% below the trend-line forecast. However, improved corn genetics and farming practices may reduce the extent of yield losses this year.
The national soybean yield is seen falling to a nine-year low. Trade estimates of The U.S. soybean yield average 37.8 bu./acre in a range from 35.8 to 39.5 bu. versus USDA’s July forecast of 40.5 bu. and last year’s 41.5 bu.
The percentage of planted corn acres that are harvested for grain is expected to be down due to the severe drought . Trade estimates of harvested corn acres average 86.404 million in a range from 83.900 million to 88.164 million compared with USDA’s July forecast of 88.900 million.
The average of trade estimates is about 89.6% of the 96.4 million acres planted to corn according to the June Crop Acreage Report. On average over the past five years, 91.9% of planted corn acres have been harvested. Back in 1988, the percentage of harvested acres fell about 3 points below the five-year average at the time.
Pre-report estimates of harvested soybean acres average 74.801 million in a range from 74.000 million to 75.315 million, compared with USDA’s July projection of 75.300 million. The average of trade estimate is about 98.3% of the 76.1 million acres of soybeans are estimated to have been planted. It is unlikely that all of those acres were seeded, however, as dry conditions forced some producers to abandon double-cropping plans.
Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.