Report pushes corn prices up
As they finish up the small grains harvest, farmers in North Dakota are set to harvest more corn but fewer soybeans than last year. Minnesota farmers, meanwhile, also will harvest 11 percent fewer bushels of soybeans but slightly more corn than l...
As they finish up the small grains harvest, farmers in North Dakota are set to harvest more corn but fewer soybeans than last year.
Minnesota farmers, meanwhile, also will harvest 11 percent fewer bushels of soybeans but slightly more corn than last year, according to a closely watched report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Monday.
Prices for corn rose Monday on news that USDA pegged the nation's corn crop as smaller than it saw it last month.
Meanwhile, a few fields of dry edible beans have been harvested in recent days in the Red River Valley, but corn and soybeans still mostly are weeks from harvest.
The small grains in Minnesota are in the bin, and very little remains in North Dakota's fields, except for durum, which still is about one-third un-harvested.
North Dakota's corn was 68 percent dented by Sunday, compared to 65 percent by the same date in the five-year average. Only 7 percent of the crop is mature, however, well below the five-year average of 17 percent by now, USDA said.
Minnesota's corn crop is 10 percent mature, compared with 20 percent by Sept. 12 in the five-year average.
Another week of no rain dried out topsoil in both states and aided harvest progress.
But the bigger news Monday was the monthly report in which USDA said U.S. farmers would harvest 12.5 billion bushels of corn this fall, down 3 percent from its August projection. That's still up slightly from last year's harvest, to what would be the third biggest corn harvest on record if it gets in the bin, but it pushed up prices.
Average yields will be down to 148.1 bushels an acre, 4.9 bushels below USDA's August projection and 4.7 bushels below last year's yields nationwide to what would be the lowest yields since 2005.
Corn futures prices in Chicago were up about 9 cents a bushel Monday, keeping up the historic switch of the past month or so of corn prices now being higher than soft red wheat prices, which fell slightly Monday.
For the past month or so, the traditional dollar-per-bushel premium soft red wheat has held over corn for 40 years has disappeared as corn demand worldwide, primed by ethanol use, has pushed corn prices higher.
Hard red spring wheat prices, however, remain higher because of the standard premium paid for the higher protein version grown in North Dakota and Minnesota; they were down about 6 cents in the nearby futures contract in Minneapolis, to about $9.39 a bushel.
North Dakota's corn production will be 262.5 million bushels, same as last month's figure, which is 6 percent higher than last year's harvest as the late year and higher prices convinced farmers to put more acres into corn. Average yields, however, will be lower than last year, 125 bushels an acre -- same as the August estimate -- compared with 132 bushels in 2010.
Minnesota's corn production was pegged Monday at 1.26 billion, down 1 percent from the August projection and 2 percent lower than 2010's record 1.29 million bushels. Yields will average 165 bushels an acre, 1 bushel lower than USDA figured last month and 12 bushels below last year's record 177 bushels per acre. A total of 7.65 million acres of corn will be harvested in Minnesota, up 5 percent from last year and the second-most on record, USDA estimates.
U.S. soybean production was upped 1 percent by USDA Monday from August's estimate, to 3.09 billion bushels, which is 7 percent below last year's production. Average yields will come in at 41.8 bushels an acre, up 0.4 bushel from last month's projections but still down 1.7 bushels from 2010's yields.
Minnesota's soybean crop will total 292 million bushels, 3 percent more than USDA figured a month ago, but still 11 percent below 2010's output. Average yields will be 41 bushels an acre, up a bushel from last month's estimate but 4 bushels below last year's yields.
North Dakota's soybean crop will total 123 million bushels, same as USDA figured last month, which is 11 percent below last year's harvest. Yields in North Dakota will be 30 bushels an acre, same as USDA figured last month, which is 4 bushels below last year's yields. USDA figures 4.1 million acres will be harvested, up from 4.07 million last year. Like corn, soybeans were a good late choice for farmers who could not get small grains or other crops planted earlier because of wet conditions across the state.
Sugar beet production nationally will be 29.2 million tons, down 9 percent from last year, USDA said, with 1.21 million acres harvested, down 1 percent from the previous forecast for this year's crop. Yields will average 24.2 tons an acre, down 3.4 tons from 2010 yields.
Together, Minnesota and North Dakota will produce half the nation's sugar beets.
North Dakota's beet crop will total 5.08 million tons, down 4 percent from the August forecast and 10 percent below 2010's production, USDA said. Average yields will be only 22 tons per acre, a ton lower than August's projections and a full 4.5 tons below last year's record yields. Harvested acres will total 231,000 acres, up from 214,000 last year as, for example, American Crystal Sugar Co. allowed it's owner/growers to plant more acres because of expected lower yields.
Minnesota's sugar beet crop will total 9.47 million tons, down 9 percent from the August projection and 19 percent below 2010's output. Yields will average 20.5 tons an acre, down 6.1 tons from last year's record yields. Harvested acreage will be up 6.1 percent from 2010.