We've already talked some about how the rising price of corn has some livestock producers worried about the ballooning cost of feed grains. Hog producers, especially, are concerned.
Through advances in technology and improved feeding systems and genetics, producers are getting more meat on the hog per pound of feed than they used to. But with corn prices surging on ethanol demand, farmers will need to be even more vigilant when figuring production costs.
The upshot of those concerns is there doesn't seem to be much relief in sight, especially based on USDA crop numbers released this week.
With USDA reducing its corn projections in both its October and September reports, many private analysts were expecting the Administration to announce another decrease in November and ... they were right.
USDA pegged the corn crop at 10.7 billion bushels -- down 1 percent from last month and lower than this week's trade "guesses" of 10.8 billion bushels.
The 2006 harvest still is expected to be one of the largest crops in history. The reduced estimate also means a decline in ending stocks -- which USDA estimates at 935 million bushels ... down from 996 million bushels in October.
In soybeans, U.S. production is estimated at slightly higher than last months report but a bit below the pre-report trade projections of 3.23 billion bushels. At 3.20 billion bushels – USDA says this year's U.S. bean crop could become a record-breaker. USDA set ending stocks for soybeans at 565 million bushels ... up 10 million bushels from previous reports.
All cotton production is forecast at 21.3 million bales – up 3 percent from last month – but down 11 percent from last year's record high. The higher forecast is a result of better than expected yields in parts of the southeast and Delta regions due to favorable weather conditions.