WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The U.S. corn crop is projected to
reach record production this year, but won’t be quite as large as initially
expected because heavy spring rain in parts of the country prevented some acres
from being planted, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s crop
Indiana’s corn crop also is expected to set a record.
The report issued Nov. 8 gave farmers and commodities
traders their first glimpse at U.S. crop production since September because the
partial federal government shutdown canceled the October report.
The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service is
projecting that corn production will reach 14 billion bushels, up nearly 1
billion bushels from the record set in 2007.
While a record, Purdue Extension agricultural economist
Chris Hurt said production won’t be as high as some expected, which is good news
“There was a lot of fear coming into this report that the
corn crop would be so large that prices would be extremely low,” he said. “But
while yields were up substantially, prevented planting acres offset some of
USDA lowered harvested corn acres by nearly 1.9 million and
soybean acres by about 700,000, primarily because of land that did not get
planted due to excessive spring rains.
Another positive result for farmers is that USDA recognized
the growing demand for the nation’s corn and soybean crops from both export
buyers, such as China, and domestic buyers, such as livestock producers.
“A lot of people are breathing a sigh of relief that the
crop is not larger and that there’s a growing demand base for the crops
produced,” Hurt said. “This report might provide a bottom for prices.”
The USDA currently is estimating the national average
farm-level corn price for the 2013 crop will be $4.50 per bushel, compared with
$6.89 per bushel for the 2012 crop.
USDA projected national soybean production to reach 3.26
billion bushels, which would represent the third-largest crop on record.
The national average price received for 2013 soybeans is
estimated to be $12.15, compared with $14.40 for the 2012 crop. According to
Hurt, soybeans could offer some income stabilization for crop farmers.
“We haven’t seen the same erosion in soybean prices that we
have in corn because of the strong demand from China and tight world supplies
until the South American crop comes into the markets later this winter,” he
said. “Soybeans could be a stabilizing influence in farm incomes.
“It’s never just about the size of the crop, but what buyers
you have and at what price they will pay for it.”
The overall large corn and soybean crops will be welcome
news to end users, such as processors and livestock producers, and ultimately
food and fuel consumers.
With grain more readily available and at lower prices, food
price inflation should fall below the general rate of inflation. For the last
two years, food price inflation has been higher than general inflation.
Indiana farmers are following the national trend with
projected record corn production at more than 1 billion bushels for the first
At 174 bushels per acre, the state’s farmers also are
expected to break the record for yield. The record of 171 bushels per acre was
set in 2009.
This compares with a national per-acre corn-yield average of
160.4 bushels, which Hurt said would be a fairly normal yield.
The state’s soybean farmers are expected to produce an
estimated 2.6 million bushels on yields of 50 bushels per acre. That would tie
per-acre yields from 2006 and fall just short of the record 51.5 bushels per
acre in 2004.
These yields compare with 43 bushels per acre nationally,
which Hurt said also is close to normal expectations.