Iowa Public Television


USDA: More Corn, Fewer Beans in '04

posted on September 10, 2004

The onset of harvest season throughout much of the grain belt brings with it renewed concerns over shipping costs. Spot tariff rates for barge deliveries on all sections of the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio rivers have risen by 15 to 35 basis points since the first of September. There have been spikes of 45 points at some locations in the Lower Mississippi Valley.

Though rising freight rates are common just ahead of harvest each year, the recent sharp increases are of special concern given USDA projections Friday of bumper corn and bean crops.

USDA: More Corn, Fewer Beans in '04 At first glance, USDA's September crop report was a little positive for soybeans ... and a little negative for corn. The pre-report guesses of an increase in the soybean harvest and a decrease in corn production were the opposite of actual USDA findings.

Here are the numbers:

The soybean crop was projected at 2.836 billion bushels, down 41 million bushels from August. The average yield was placed at 38.5 bushels an acre, down six-tenths from August.

Analysts attribute the decrease to lower yields in the Upper Midwest. Despite the reduction, USDA left its forecast for 2004-2005 ending stocks unchanged at 190 million bushels, thanks largely to a decline in export projections.

For the corn crop, USDA is calling for a record harvest of 10.961 billion bushels, up 38 million bushels from August. Average yield was pegged at 149.4 bushels an acre, up five-tenths from last month.

Ending stocks for 2004-2005 corn were placed at 1.209 billion bushels, up 77 million bushels from last month, again due to sluggish export sales.

Wheat crop numbers from USDA will be delayed until a small-grains summary is released at the end of the month, although the agency did leave its estimates for both U.S. and world ending stocks unchanged.

Tags: agriculture corn crops government markets news soybeans trade USDA