The US Department of Agriculture in its Nov. 9 Crop Production report forecast slightly higher corn production and slightly lower soybean production from its October projections although both were up from 2020. The lower soybean estimate appeared to be the greatest surprise to the trade.
The USDA forecast 2021 corn production at 15.062 billion bushels, up 0.3% from its October forecast, up 7% from 14.111 billion bushels in 2020 and the second highest on record if realized after 15.148 billion bushels in 2016. Average yield based on Nov. 1 conditions was forecast at a record-high 177 bushels per acre, up 0.5 bushels from October and up 5.6 bushels from 2020. Area harvested for grain was forecast at 85.1 million acres, unchanged from the prior forecast and up 3% from 2020.
The USDA corn production and average yield forecasts both were slightly above the average of pre-report trade expectations of 15.050 billion bushels and 176.9 bushels per acre.
US soybean production in 2021 was forecast at 4.425 billion bushels, down 0.5% from October but up 5% from 4.216 billion bushels in 2020 and the second highest on record if realized after 4.428 billion bushels in 2018. The average yield based on Nov. 1 conditions was forecast at 51.2 bushels per acre, down 0.3 bushels from October but up 0.2 bushels from 2020. The forecast average yield also would be the second highest on record if realized. Harvested area was forecast at 86.4 million acres, unchanged from the prior forecast but up 5% from 2020.
USDA’s soybean production and average yield forecasts both were below the average trade expectations of 4.484 billion bushels and 51.9 bushels per acre.
CME Group soybean futures posted gains of 20¢ a bushel or more after the 11:00 a.m. Central Time release of the reports while corn futures were up about 4¢ a bushel. Nearby soybean futures had dropped to their lowest level since December 2020 ahead of the report on trade expectations of higher soybean and production estimates from October.
The USDA in its Nov. 8 Crop Progress report said corn in the 18 major corn growing states was 84% harvested as of Nov. 7, behind 90% at the same time last year but ahead of 78% as the 2016-20 average for the date. The soybean harvest in the 18 major soybean states was 87% completed by Nov. 7, behind both 91% a year ago and 88% as the prior five-year average.
Wheat production for 2021 was not updated in the November report.