Despite a slowly maturing corn crop impacted by late summer heat, USDA upped its production forecast for the crop this year by a little bit instead of lowering it.
Corn production is forecast at 13.8 billion bushels, up less than 1 percent from the August forecast and up 28 percent from 2012. If realized, this will be a new record production for the United States. Based on conditions as of September 1, yields are expected to average 155.3 bushels per acre, up 0.9 bushels from the August forecast and 31.9 bushels above the 2012 average. If realized, this will be the highest average yield since 2009.
“The ear count numbers are a lot higher than what we were looking at just a month ago,” said USDA Economist Joe Glauber. “We’re expecting prices to fall, for ending stocks to recover a lot from where they were.” USDA is now predicting an average price for 2013 of $4.80 per bushel, about $2 less than year.
“It is a huge improvement over last year when we produced less than 11 billion bushels,” said Geoff Cooper with the Renewable Fuels Association who said lower prices will help increase ethanol production next year. “As this new crop comes in and corn prices come down, it’s very likely we could see close to 14 billion gallons in production next year,” compared to just over 13 billion expected this year.
Brian Jennings of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) noted that a record corn crop on the heels of the worst drought in 50 years “is further proof the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is working and Congress should not repeal or reduce it.”
The corn harvest is just beginning in some areas this week but should be getting into full swing in the next few weeks as the crop hits maturity.