Saturday, October 9, 2010

Nebraska corn harvest down, but still at more than 1.5 billion bushels

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Friday that Nebraska's corn crop is down 4 percent from last year's record crop, there's plenty of corn to go around, said Kelly Brunkhorst, director of research for the Nebraska Corn Board.

Based on Oct. 1 conditions, the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, Nebraska Field Office, reported Friday that this year's Nebraska corn crop is forecast at 1.51 billion bushels, down 1 percent from last month and 4 percent below last year's record high. Yield is forecast at 170 bushels per acre, nine bushels below last month and eight bushels below the record high set last year.

However, according to the USDA, both 2010 production and yield remain the second highest of record. Acreage for harvest was increased 350,000 acres to 8.9 million, 1 percent above a year ago.

While USDA did lower its yield estimate for Nebraska - down from its 179 bushels per acre estimate in September, Brunkhorst said reports from fields "make it clear that 179 bushels was perhaps too optimistic for the state this year."

"While we had pretty good weather overall in Nebraska, a couple of weeks of hot weather right after pollination may have taken the top off yields a bit," he said. "Yet 170 bushels per acre is pretty darn good, obviously, when you consider it's the second-highest ever."

Nationally, USDA estimated yields at 155.8 bushels per acre, below last year's record of 164.7. If realized, that would put the U.S. corn crop at 12.7 billion bushels. As forecasted, both those figures would be the third-largest on record, Brunkhorst said.

"While the yield reduction appears to tighten the corn market a bit, we're confident about the current supply picture," Brunkhorst said. "At the same time, we'll have good supplies of other corn products, including some 4.2 million tons of distiller grains being produced by Nebraska ethanol plants this year alone."

Friday's crop report also pushed agricultural commodities futures up, including corn, soybeans and ethanol.

John Anderson, an economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation, said the big drop in both the corn yield and production estimates in October's crop report caught the industry by surprise. "Folks were expecting to see a drop in average yields from last month's report because of poor late-season weather conditions across much of the Corn Belt, but nobody was forecasting this big of a drop in the corn crop," Anderson said.

Anderson said the smaller-than-expected corn crop and the lowest stock situation since 1995 prompted USDA to forecast a market year average cash price of around $5 per bushel - up 60 cents from last month's price forecast.

"Corn producers will welcome the higher price, but livestock and dairy producers will have to pay more than they expected to for feed," Anderson said.

Friday's report said that state soybean production is forecast at a record high 281 million bushels, 5 percent below last month but still 8 percent above the previous record set last year.

State soybean yield is forecast at a record high 55 bushels per acre, unchanged from last month and 0.5 bushel above the previous high set in 2009. Area for harvest was decreased 250,000 acres to a record high 5.1 million, up 7 percent from 2009.

Nationwide, USDA said soybean production is forecast at a record high 3.41 billion bushels, down 2 percent from September but 1 percent above last year. Based on September 1 conditions, USDA reported that yields are expected to average a record high 44.4 bushels per acre, down 0.3 bushel from last month but up 0.4 bushel from last year.

Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at 76.8 million acres, down 1 percent from the previous estimate but up 1 percent from 2009, according to the USDA.

Statewide, the USDA also reported:

-- Sorghum production is forecast at 7.05 million bushels, up 15 percent from last month due to an increase in harvested acres. This production is still 46 percent below a year ago and the smallest since 1953. Yield at 94 bushels per acre is unchanged from the previous month but up 1 bushel from last year. Harvested acreage was increased 10,000 acres to 75,000 but down 46 percent from previous year and smallest since 1947.

-- Sunflower production is up 43 percent due to increased acreage and yield from a year ago.

-- Dry edible bean production is up 37 percent from last year due to more acres.

-- Sugarbeet production is down 19 percent from 2009, a result of fewer acres for harvest and a lower yield.

-- Alfalfa hay production is forecast to be 4 percent higher and all other hay production is unchanged compared to a year ago. 
Published: Saturday, October 9, 2010 12:03 AM CDT


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