Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer told reporters the current farm economy is in good health – buoyed, in part, by strong land values and high exports.
But Schafer cautioned farmers that two straight years of record farm prices may not carry into 2009. USDA also made headlines this week with its November Crop Production and Supply and Demand estimates.
USDA's crop production estimates pegged corn at 12.02 billion bushels for the 2008-2009 crop year. While down 13 million bushels from the revised October estimate, this year's corn harvest would be the second largest in U.S. history. Corn yields also are showing strong averages in the 2008-2009 harvest. The average national yield is expected to crest over 153 bushels per acre – also the second highest in history.
In soybeans, USDA predicts this year's harvest will be 2.92 billion bushels – down 17 million bushels from October estimates. Soybean yields are expected to reach 39.3 bushels per acre – only a fraction lower than the October report.
In wheat, domestic ending stocks are predicted to reach 603 million bushels, a slight increase of 2 million bushels from previous estimates.