Corn Crop on Record Pace

The USDA crop report Monday put corn on a pace 1 billion bushels ahead of the previous record.

Favorable weather and increased plantings may yield the largest corn crop in U.S. history, according to the most recent report from the USDA.

Based on favorable early-season weather throughout much of the Corn Belt, USDA Monday estimated a 2007 yield of 12.84 billion bushels - more than 1 billion bushels higher than the record 2004 crop.

The report also noted that as of July 5, advance sales of the corn crop had reached 5.1 million tons, more than twice the level of sales at this time last year.

A smaller-than-expected corn crop in Ukraine led USDA to increase its projection for exports by 1 million bushels, to a total of 2 billion bushels during the 2007-2008 marketing year. Demand for food and industrial uses (including ethanol) is up sharply, to 4.79 billion bushels, while demand for feed declined to 5.7 billion bushels.

If these projections hold up, the market for livestock feed will total 44.4% of the entire U.S. corn crop, with exports accounting for 15.6% of the total crop use.

Ethanol production will use slightly more than 25% of the crop while slightly more than 10% of the crop will go for food and beverage uses.

USDA also notes that livestock will consume a greater amount of distillers dried grains this year.

Ending stocks for the 2007-2008 marketing year will increase by 365 million bushels, according to the report.

The report cites crop conditions from July 9 as one reason USDA's higher estimates.

According to the July 16 Crop Progress Report, 32% of the corn crop has reached silking, compared with a five-year average of only 18%.

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