Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

A Bit of Relief for U.S. Farmers Hit by Drought ; Soybean Harvest Forecast Is Revised Up, but Corn Production Cut Further

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

A Bit of Relief for U.S. Farmers Hit by Drought ; Soybean Harvest Forecast Is Revised Up, but Corn Production Cut Further

Article excerpt

But for the fourth consecutive month, the Agriculture Department lowered its estimate for corn, the United States' largest cash crop.

After months of battling sweltering heat and drought, a bit of good news has emerged for U.S. farmers: The Agriculture Department has revised its estimates for soybean production higher, a sign that the drought has had less of an impact on the crop than feared.

The report, released Thursday, was not all good, however. The department, for the fourth consecutive month, lowered its estimates for corn, the United States' largest cash crop. The lower estimates for corn supplies mean customers will most likely find an increase in meat and dairy prices at the grocery store next year as the cost of animal feed -- made primarily from corn and soybeans -- remains high.

The Agriculture Department crop estimates are published monthly, but analysts say the October report is significant because it comes during the harvest across the Midwest and probably provides the most comprehensive view yet of the effect of the drought on the size of the corn and soybean crops and others.

"I don't think you are going to see any more significant changes in production figures," said Jerry Norton, an analyst at the department. "The figures out today capture most of the impact of the drought, so it's hard to see estimates getting much lower from here on."

Grain prices rose after the release of the new estimates. Corn rose 36.5 cents, to $7.73 a bushel, which is about 35 liters, while soybeans jumped 25.25 cents, to $15.49 a bushel.

Despite the increase Thursday, both crops remain below their record highs, which were set this year. In August, corn rose to $8.49 a bushel. Soybeans reached $17.89 a bushel last month.

Early this year, the corn crop was projected to hit a record high of 15 billion bushels, as farmers had planted the most acreage in almost 70 years. But for the last four months, the Agriculture Department revised its projections down as drought and heat damaged crops.

On Thursday, the department cut its domestic corn production forecast to 10.706 billion bushels, down less than 1 percent from the 10. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.