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USDA raises 2020-21 US corn yield, production estimates to record highs

Highlights

Raises 2020-21 US corn yield forecast to 181.8 bu/acre from 178.5 bu/acre

US 2020-21 corn output forecast raised by 278 mil bu to 15.278 billion bu

Raises US corn export estimates for 2020-21, 2019-20

New Delhi — The US Department of Agriculture has raised its estimate for US corn yield to a record high of 181.8 bushels/acre from 178.5 bu/acre estimated a month earlier, according to the agency's August World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report released Aug. 12.

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The higher yield number has led to an increase of 278 million bushels in the production estimate for US corn in the 2020-21 marketing year, which runs through September to August. The USDA now sees US corn production in 2020-21 to be at a record 15.278 billion bushels.

The crop production report released by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service on Aug. 12 also reflects similar yield and production estimates.

Market participants expected the USDA to raise its yield estimates for US corn to 180.5 bu/acre, while S&P Global Platts Analytics expects yield estimate for US corn at 180.3 bushels/acre.

However, it is to be noted that any damage caused by the recent derecho windstorm is not reflected in this report.

In the NASS crop production report, the USDA said that these estimates are based on conditions as of Aug. 1, and any potential impacts from severe weather that occurred after Aug. 1 will be reflected in future reports.

A derecho -- powerful complex of severe thunderstorms with wind gusts of 80-100 mph -- swept across parts of Midwest in the early hours of Aug. 10, flattening standing corn crops and raising serious concerns of yield loss in impacted fields.

The USDA maintained its US corn planted acreage estimate for 2020-21 at 92 million acres estimated last month. Harvested area was also maintained at 84 million acres.

The agency's forecast for total corn supplies in the US in 2020-21 increased to 17.531 billion bushels from 17.273 billion bushels previously.

Feed and residual demand is seen at 5.925 billion bushels, higher than 5.85 billion bushels last month.

"Feed and residual use is raised based mostly on a larger crop and lower expected prices," the USDA report said.

US corn exports estimate for 2020-21 was increased to 2.225 billion bushels, from total 2.15 billion bushels earlier. "Exports are higher reflecting US export competitiveness and relatively low world market prices," the report added.

The agency's year-ending stocks estimate for 2020-21 was raised to 2.756 billion bushels from 2.648 billion bushels in its July WASDE report.

The agency's forecast for the season average farm price for US corn in 2020-21 was lowered to $3.10/bu from $3.35/bu earlier.

For 2020-21, the USDA estimate for corn used for ethanol in the US held steady at 5.2 billion bushels.

For the 2019-20 marketing year, the USDA raised its estimate for US corn exports in 2019-20 to 1.795 billion bushels from 1.775 billion bushels in July.

The agency maintained its estimate for corn production in the US in 2019-20 at 13.617 billion bushels. It also maintained the estimate for demand for corn for ethanol for 2019-20 at 4.85 billion bushels.

The agency's estimates for corn acreage and harvested acres in 2019-20 were also kept unchanged at 89.7 million acres and 81.3 million acres, respectively.