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Record U.S. corn crop is expected, weather permitting
Waterloo Courier, Iowa, July 13, 2004
The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture Crop Production and Supply and Demand reports were released Monday. Strong demand is expected to offset this year's predicted bin-busting corn harvest. Prices, while down from last month, are expected to remain profitable.

The crop is projected at 10.635 billion bushels, up 210 million bushels from last month and 521 million bushels compared to last year. The USDA expects prices after harvest to range from $ 2.30 to $ 2.70 per bushel, down 25 cents on each end from last month.

During a Chicago Board of Trade press briefing Monday, grain analysts said the weather is the determining factor. Corn and soybeans continue to struggle in the upper Midwest from too much rain and not enough heat, though growing conditions are favorable in other parts of the country.

"There's probably some 2 billion bushels of (corn) production in the upper Midwest. That crop continues to struggle," said Don Roose, president and CEO of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines. "The real debate (remains) is the yield attainable?"

If the rain subsides and hot, humid weather takes its place, Roose said this year's harvest will most likely resemble 1994 when the crop topped 10 billion bushels. If the rain and cooler-than-normal temperatures continue, then the crop could turn out like 1993, when yields were cut almost in half. If that occurs, all price predictions are out the window.

Monday's weekly USDA Crops and Weather Report said farmers continue to cite the need for more heat units.

Nineteen percent of the Iowa's corn acres has begun tasseling, while other plants are barely knee-high. Conditions vary widely among fields and around the state.

The corn crop is rated 2 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 17 percent fair, 53 percent good and 23 percent excellent.

The U.S. soybean crop is projected at 2.94 billion bushels, down 25 million bushels from last month. The 2004-05 carryover is estimated at 210 million bushels, down 10 million bushels from last month.

While the soybean ending stocks look more promising than last year, analysts said they are still razor thin. Projected 2004-05 soybean prices are $ 5.70 to $ 6.70 per bushel. Soybean meal prices are expected to range from $ 185 to $ 215 per ton.

Greg Grow, director of agri-business for Archer-Daniels-Midland Investor Services in Chicago, said the projected above trend-line yield for soybeans will ease demand. However, he said buyers remain active.

Profitability in all sectors of livestock production and strong exports are the primary factors.

"The USDA is still looking at some decent demand numbers. The weather is very important from here on out," Grow said.

The market will remain volatile until August and early September when the weather determines the crop. Hot and dry conditions last year hurt Northeast Iowa yields.

Forty-six percent of Iowa's soybean acreage is blooming, reports indicate. The crop is rated 2 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 19 percent fair, 55 percent good and 19 percent excellent.
MGR Archive 15.7.2004
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