US corn harvest slowed by Isaac rains

04 September 2012 22:02  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The harvest of the 2012 US corn crop was slowed in some areas by rains from Hurricane Isaac, data released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicated on Tuesday.

The remnants of Isaac brought some much needed rain to the eastern half of the Corn Belt late last week, slowing the pace of the harvest in those areas, but replenishing needed soil moisture.

The USDA's weekly Crop Progress Report said that as of 2 September, 10% of the corn planted in the 18 top-producing states had been harvested, with 41% of the crop fully mature and waiting for harvesting.

The weekly data indicates that 5% of the corn in Iowa has been harvested, compared with 61% of the crop in Texas.

The USDA said the condition of the corn still standing was unchanged from a week earlier with the percentage of the crop rated as poor at 26% while another 26% is rated as very poor.

The USDA said 26% of the corn crop continues to be rated as fair, while 19% is rated as good and 3% rated as excellent.

The quality ratings for the soybean crop also held steady as the USDA said 26% was good while 4% was excellent.

The USDA said 37% of soybeans are rated as poor or very poor, a slight improvement from the 38% rating of a week earlier.

On 10 August, the USDA forecast corn production at 10.8bn bushels, down by 13% from 2011 and the lowest production since 2006.

Corn yields are expected by the USDA to average 123.4 bushels/acre, down by 23.8 bushels from last year.

Independent crop experts are estimating the corn crop to yield from 10.1bn-10.6bn bushels.

Soybean production is forecast by the USDA at 2.69bn bushels, down 12% from 2011, and the lowest since 2003.

December corn futures closed at $8.05/bushel on Tuesday at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, up about 4 cents/bushel from a week earlier. November soybeans closed at $17.71/bushel, up about 52 cents/bushel from the close on 27 August.

USDA crop quality ratings are an indication of future crop yields. Lower quality ratings generally translate to lower yields and can be a bullish signal to commodity traders.

In the US this year, about 5bn bushels of corn will be used in the production of ethanol. Each bushel of corn on average yields 2.8 gallons of ethanol.

US soybean oil provides about 50% of the feedstock for the domestic production of biodiesel. One bushel of soybeans yields enough oil to produce 1.5 gallon of biodiesel.

US growers this year have planted 96.4m acres (39.0m hectares) of corn and are now expected to harvest 87.4m acres, up 4% from last year, according to USDA estimates.

The USDA estimated that 73.9m acres of soybeans were planted this year, the third highest number of acres on record.

By: Frank Zaworski
+1 713 525 2653

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