Farm Futures survey pegs U.S. corn crop below 10 bln bushels

A Farm Futures Magazine survey of more than 1,800 U.S. farmers projected the U.S. 2012 corn crop at 9.57 billion bushels, based on an average yield of 114 bushels per acre, the publication said Friday.

The figures are well below the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s current forecast for a crop of 12.97 billion bushels with an average yield of 146 bushels per acre. USDA was scheduled to release updated crop forecasts on Aug. 10.

Factoring in current crop conditions as well as survey data, the magazine’s editors projected U.S. corn production at 9.86 billion bushels with an average yield of 117.6 bushels per acre.

Yearly U.S. corn production has not fallen below 10 billion bushels since 2002.

"While farmers told us they planted a little more corn than shown in USDA’s June 30 acreage report, abandonment will be much higher than the government predicted due to effects of the drought," said Bryce Knorr, senior editor for Farm Futures, who conducted the research.

"With fields already being plowed under or cut for silage, it appears harvested acres could fall to just 84 million, almost 5 million less than USDA forecast in June."

Farm Futures said its survey was conducted from July 20 to Aug. 2.

For soybeans, the survey projected the U.S. 2012 harvest at 2.696 billion bushels with an average yield of 35.8 bushels per acre.

The survey’s soybean forecasts were close to estimates that also factored in crop ratings, so the editors did not give a separate soybean production figure.

Farmers in the survey reported planting more soybeans than USDA found in June but also expected greater abandonment, leaving harvested acres close to USDA’s figure of 75.3 million.

"There’s still time for the soybean crop to recover a portion of its lost production," said Arlan Suderman, Farm Futures market analyst, "but it could also see significant additional losses if the current weather pattern holds through August."

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