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October Crop Report: Wheat Stocks Lower

posted on October 12, 2007

Over the past couple years, America's corn growers have had plenty of reasons to smile. In 2005, Congress mandated that refiners blend 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuels like ethanol into America's gasoline supply by 2012. The industry entered an unprecedented period of growth and with more than 125 plants currently in production, the production mandate likely will be met in 2008 -- four years ahead of schedule. Last spring, enticed by the highest prices in more than a decade, U.S. farmers planted the most corn acreage since World War II. Now, with combines rolling at breakneck pace, the Agriculture Department says growers are harvesting a record crop.
October Crop Report: Wheat Stocks Lower In the spring, USDA predicted the corn crop would reach 12.1 billion bushels. As harvest nears the halfway point growers are one step closer to bringing in the largest corn crop on record. While private prognostications were averaging almost 13.5 billion bushels, USDA remained close to its September number pegging the harvest at slightly more than 13.3 billion bushels.

The numbers for the soybean crop reflect how corn has crowded out the oil seed. Last year's crop hit 3.19 billion bushels but USDA isn't expecting that much this time around. Slightly lower than industry predictions, the government is expecting 2.6 billion bushels to go into the bin, down more than 500 million from last year, but up slightly from September.

Wheat, which has experienced some of the highest volatility in the grain pits over the past few months, may well see more movement due to reduced wheat ending stocks. USDA officials have dropped domestic wheat stocks by 55 million bushels to 307 million bushels. That's about one-third less than last year's 456 million bushels. Global wheat ending stocks are estimated at nearly 4 billion bushels. That's down 600 million bushels from last month. Analysts are attributing the lower ending stocks to increased use and a crop reduced by almost half in Australia. Australia is predicted to produce only 500 million bushels. Last month at this time, USDA predicted a considerably higher 800 million bushels would be harvested "down-under."

Tags: agriculture corn crops markets news USDA wheat