July 25, 2011


Analysts pessimistic on official USDA US corn and soy numbers



An analysis group known for drawing crop estimates from satellite data has warned that the US corn harvest may be 570 million bushels below government estimates.


Lanworth, a prominent private commodities consultancy with a solid forecasting reputation, was also pessimistic on the USDA's prospects of the country's soy output, blaming weather damage and lower sowings than officials are counting on.


Lanworth said that yields of both soy and corn would come in close to trend in the important agricultural states of Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska, but surrounding areas would see losses of 7-9%.


Corn harvested acreage was estimated at 83.99 million acres for corn, around 900,000 acres below the USDA figure, leading to a production forecast of 12.90 billion bushels, below the USDA's forecast of 13.47 billion bushels.


The estimate for soy harvested acreage was in line with the government expectations, but Lanworth's production figure of 3.07 billion bushels is 158 million bushels under the USDA forecast.


"Imagery confirms extremely low vegetation density in eastern Indiana, central and southern Kansas, northwest Ohio, and southern Michigan," Lanworth said.


The largest losses were expected to be in the drought-affected Southern areas, as well as the eastern Corn Belt, "where historically delayed planting under wet conditions has been followed by hot and dry conditions," Lanworth said.


Lanworth's lowered estimates were attributed for supporting futures prices when forecasts for wet weather might have been expected to encourage selling, even as supplies of both crops are already expected to be tight.

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