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Iowa corn crop poised to set record

Posted on Aug 12, 2009 by David DeWitte.

corncropIowa farms will produce a record corn crop and record yields this year.

Iowa growers will harvest 185 bushels per acre of corn this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday, up from the previous record of 181 bushels in 2004, and from last year’s 171-bushel-per-acre mark.

The forecast calls for Iowa’s corn harvest for 2009 to hit 2.47 billion bushels of corn, surpassing the record of 2.38 billion bushels in 2007.

The USDA decided to resurvey seven major corn states because of a widespread belief in the corn market that it would find fewer acres planted than previous corn acreage estimate, explained Don Roose, a broker and analyst at U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines. Instead, the USDA held to its previous estimate of corn acres planted, and raised its yield estimate by 6.1 bushels per acre.

“That’s historically a large jump,” Roose said of the yield estimate. Such a jump in yield estimates would ordinarily be bad for corn trading prices. Corn prices instead headed 5 cents per bushel higher for the day because the government raised the corn demand forecast by 350 million bushels, Roose said.

The USDA estimated farmers will receive an average of $3.50 per bushel for this year’s corn crop, 25 cents less than it forecast last month.

The report boosted the estimate of soybean acres planted by 200,000 acres, and lowered its yield estimate for soybeans by 0.9 bushels per acre, to 41.1 bushels per acre.

Roose said the report would ordinarily have boosted soybean prices, but instead caused them to go down because of a reduction in the demand forecast.

Roose said the market is taking the corn estimates seriously because the 2009 corn crop is completing its development in the western corn belt. Crops will be maturing late east of the Mississippi, where crops were planted later this year, but the outlook should be clear for the eastern crops in a few weeks.

“We were anticipating large crops in Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota, and that’s what the government told us,” Roose said.

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