U.S. farmers are poised to harvest a bigger-than-anticipated corn crop, according to the latest government outlook, as favorable Midwest weather boosts yield potential.
Domestic production will total 15.153 billion bushels in the 2016-17 season, an all-time high, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, or WASDE, report released Friday.
The amount is higher than the agency’s July outlook for 14.54 billion bushels. It also surpasses the average estimate for 14.772 billion -- as well as the highest individual estimate -- in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. The USDA pegged yields at 175.1 bushels per acre, compared with the average estimate of 170.6 bushels.
“Nearly all Corn Belt states, with the exception of Minnesota and South Dakota, are forecast to have yields above a year ago,” USDA said in the report.
After the report, corn futures for December delivery fell as much as 2.8 percent to $3.225 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade, the lowest for a most-active contract since Oct. 3, 2014.
An increase in U.S. output will add to the buffer in global grain supplies and benefit livestock farmers and ethanol makers, who use corn for animal feed and fuel production.
The U.S. is the world’s largest grower and exporter. The latest production estimates are the first of the season that the USDA compiles based on a survey of field samples and farmer interviews.