USDA Surprises Market Again With Yield Estimates

September 11, 2015 02:45 PM

For the second month in a row, USDA surprised the market with higher than expected yield estimates for corn and soybeans.

In its World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates released today, USDA predicted an average corn yield of 167.5 bu. per acre for corn and 47.1 bu. for soybeans, both of which surpassed the average trade guess (165.0 bu. for corn and 45.7 bu. soybeans, according to Water Street Solutions).

“Last month, they were at 46.9. They actually raised it up to 47.1,” said Rich Nelson of Allendale after the report. “That’s a very strong yield number.”

It caught the market off-guard. “That was above what the trade was looking for,” said Brian Basting of Advance Trading, speaking on a post-report MGEX conference call. “The market was a bit surprised.”

Like others, Basting is already looking ahead to the October report for more information and ideally, more certainty, about this year’s roller-coaster soybean crop. “Between now and October 9, we’ll let the combines—if you will—tell the story, weather permitting,” he said.

The corn numbers were also a bit unexpected. While the market did expect USDA to reduce its September yield estimate from August’s 168.8 bu., which it did, USDA left that figure higher than the trade projected, given widespread concerns about nitrogen loss and washed-out fields.

Just this week, satellite photos by Descartes Labs suggested U.S. corn farmers will only harvest 13.3 billion bushels, which is below USDA’s latest production estimate of 13.6 billion bushels.

“USDA did trim its initial corn yield, but (167.5) would still be the highest yield ever,” Basting said.

Where does he see corn yields ending up? It’s tough to say, given the dramatically different crop conditions that can be seen in Minnesota compared to Indiana this year. “I’m unwilling to go too far out on a limb, given the diversity of the crop,” he said.

The overall reduction in corn production pushed prices up on Friday, with September ’15, December ’15 and March ’16 futures jumping more than 12 cents.

What did you think of today’s USDA numbers? Could average corn yield reach 167.5 bu.? Could soybeans hit an average of 47.1 bu. per acre? Let us know in the comments. 

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Spell Check

charleston, IL
9/11/2015 09:48 PM

  corn is very disappointing, low test weights, small ears and small kernals 52bu. on good black ground instead of the 240 in the past, and 180 on the hills which is about normal for the hills. soybeans are half of normal on low ground and normal on high ground

Larry Beaty
Rochester, IL
9/11/2015 08:43 PM

  We have harvested 274 acres at 156 bu.. per acre ave.Last year this same 274 acres ave. 236 bpa. I am not sure this day in age we need surveys to determine our yields. With todays tech. knowlege there has to be a better way.

Allan Worrell
Jacksonville, IL
9/11/2015 04:58 PM

  Hard to believe the numbers. In West Central Illinois the early yields are well below last year, appears to be 15 to 20% off last year and even below reduced expectations. I think combines will tell a totally different story than USDA


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