Most of the Southwest also is enduring drought, but abnormally dry conditions are prevalent in most of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Despite a band of thunderstorms which roared across the plains late this week, isolated dry spots linger from the Dakotas to the Gulf of Mexico.
But in most of the "Grain Belt," the weather of late has been ideal. While that bodes well for homeowners hoping to run their air conditioners a bit less, it is not a welcome development for grain prices.
The full effects of favorable growing conditions will be known next week, when the Agriculture Department releases its much anticipated Crop Production Report. But that didn't stop private analysts from making a few predictions of their own this week.
Staying consistent with its July numbers, Informa Economics revised its corn production estimate slightly downward to 12.45 billion bushels. Brokerage firm FCStone has the number closer to 12.81 billion bushels while market analysis company Allendale is somewhere in the middle with a 12.56 billion bushel estimate. In July, USDA analysts pegged the corn crop at 12.29 billion bushels. If realized that would be the second highest corn crop on record. There is agreement on the average yield with estimates approaching the all-time record of 160.4 bushels per acre set in 2004.
Informa places the soybean harvest at 3.18 billion bushels, slightly below USDA's estimate of a record 3.26 billion bushels. FCStone's number is lower at 3.25 billion while Allendale matches USDA's July estimate at 3.26 billion bushels. Yield guesses are all near USDA's July estimate of 42.6 bushels per acre -- the third highest on record.
For all wheat production, Informa's educated guess is 2.17 billion bushels, slightly higher than USDA's 2.11 billion bushel estimate.
USDA will show which group was closest to the mark when it releases its August crop production estimates next week.