USDA Expected to Snip Crop Production Forecasts

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Analysts expect federal forecasters to trim their estimates for this season's corn and soybean harvest.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected Tuesday to forecast U.S. soybean production of 4.32 billion bushels, down from 4.38 billion in August, along with a corn haul of 14 billion compared with 14.15 billion a month earlier.

Soybean yield is expected at 48.7 bushels per acre, versus 49.4 in August, with corn down to 167.8 from 169.5.

Though lower than in August, those figures would nevertheless mark a record soybean bounty and the third-largest corn haul. Industry participants earlier this season expected difficult growing weather, with everything from excessive rain in the east to drought in the west, to cut into production. But many crops recovered more quickly than expected, surprising farmers.

Analysts now think the USDA is likely to cut modestly its August forecast in reflection of the weather troubles, which are ongoing in some areas. Some think the agency overestimated factors like corn ear weights when making their calculations, adding that necessary adjustments may not come until its October report.

Nevertheless, analysts don't expect the harvest to reduce significantly record large grain supplies.

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The USDA will likely lower its domestic corn and soybean stockpile estimates for 2016-17 and 2017-18, analysts say. For the new crop year in particular, corn stocks are expected at 2.13 billion bushels, down from the agency's August estimate of 2.27 billion, with oilseed stocks at 437 million bushels versus 475 million a month earlier.

Analysts also expect the agency to reduce modestly its global stockpile forecasts.

Write to Benjamin Parkin at benjamin.parkin@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 08, 2017 15:55 ET (19:55 GMT)