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Ag Economy

Cash Field Crop

It was a great growing year for much of the U.S., and USDA projects the national average corn yield at over 180 bushels per acre (bu/acre), a record that exceeds last year’s yield by more than four bushels. This is expected to result in a national corn crop of 14.8 billion bushels, which is 174 million bushels above USDA’s August estimate. Soybean yields are also projected to break records, forecast at 53.1 bu/acre. If achieved, this would yield 4.69 billion bushels, 279 million more than last year.1

  • Both domestic and foreign demand for corn has been strong, but large supplies will likely limit price increases.
  • The record soybean crop comes at a time of escalating trade disputes with China – the U.S.’s largest export customer. This has resulted in a loss of billions of dollars in crop value, with prices near (or at) decade lows.
  • Soybean exports to all customers fell by 28 percent in the third quarter. Given China’s large dependency on American soybeans, some feel markets may have over-corrected. Customers feel their buying will either come back or U.S. growers may find new customers as China consumes South America’s crop. However, China has options to draw down stocks by adjusting animal rations to reduce soybean meal content. This may limit U.S. price recovery, and could disrupt soybean exports to China well into the future.
  • USDA forecasts corn prices for the 2018/19 market year at $3.00-4.00 ($0.10 below their August estimate) and soybeans at $7.35-9.85, substantially below prior estimates.
  • Reports from N.Y. indicate that it was a good growing year, and yields were good.
  • Trade and tariffs of course remain a huge wildcard, particularly with soybeans.

1 USDA / WASDE


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