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Will USDA Boost Yields on Tuesday?

11:00AM Nov 09, 2015

Bigger corn and soybean yields are likely in store for USDA's November reports, which will be released Tuesday. 

“Big crops usually get bigger, and I think what you have to anticipate in this report with the yields that we’ve had that the yield in soybeans goes up three-tenths to six-tenths a bushel,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa. “Same thing on corn. I think you probably also have to expect that goes up by half-a-bushel to two bushels an acre.”

In its October report, USDA raised soybean yield to 47.2 bu. per acre, up slightly from the prior month’s estimate of 47.1 bu. per acre. Corn yield, meanwhile, was raised to 168.0 bu. per acre, versus their previous estimate 167.5 bu. per acre.

Bloomberg, meanwhile, reported last week that industry analysts on average predicted corn yield to increase to 168.2 in Tuesday’s report, while soybean yield would rise to 47.5 bu. per acre. The size of the U.S. corn crop was also expected to increase by 9 million bushels to 13.564 billion bushels, according to the survey. Soybean production is project to rise by 26 million bushels to a total of 3.914 billion bushels.

On the demand side of the ledger for corn and soybeans, Roose said that given the anemic shipment pace for corn this year, USDA will likely lower their export figure for corn while holding the soybean export estimate unchanged. “Our export pace on corn is slow,” he said. “We’re down 34% versus a year ago on corn exports, so that number could actually go down 50 million in this report. It could go down a hundred million over time."

USDA pegged corn exports in the October report at 1.85 billion bushels, which was unchanged from the previous estimate. Meanwhile, soybean exports were lowered to 1.725 billion bushels, down from the prior estimate of 1.675 billion.

For wheat, most of the attention still remains on world production, said Jerry Gidel, chief feed grain analyst at Rice Dairy in Chicago. 

Production issues in key wheat-exporting regions like Russia and Australia could lead USDA to further tighten the world wheat balance sheet. “I think we might find some stuff in the world numbers to tighten things up,” Gidel said. “The Black Sea is not in the best shape, now we’re getting too much wet weather in Australia, and the quality’s not going to be there.”

Roose, meanwhile, anticipates corn world ending stocks to rise by 2 million metric tons, and soybean world ending stocks to rise by 1 million metric tons.

USDA raised the world wheat crop last month to a record 732.79 million metric tons, up by 1.18 million metric tons from their previous estimate. World corn production was lowered to 972.6 million metric tons, down 5.5 million, while the world soybean crop was raised by 0.88 million tons to 320.49 million tons.

“There’s no shortage of grain in the world markets,” Roose said.  “So, what’s it mean for the farmer? I think we need some kind of weather problem in South America to really propel the market into new level and create selling opportunities.” 

What are your expectations for the November USDA numbers? Let us know in the comments.