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USDA record US corn yield forecast tops expectations

Houston — The US Department of Agriculture on Thursday upped its US corn yield estimate for the 2017-18 marketing year, which began September 1, to 175.4 bushels per acre, a record, with an increase of 3.6 bu/acre from its October estimate and 0.8 bu/acre above 2016-17's 174.6 bu/acre yield.

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USDA's latest forecast for US corn production in the current marketing year was 14.578 billion bushels or 370.3 million mt, up 298 million bushels from its October estimate.

The report was bearish for prices as the market was expecting lower yield and production forecasts for the 2017-18 marketing year, sources said.

Among the different analysts' estimates, the highest were for about 174 bu/acre on the yield and for about 14.459 billion bushels on production, a market participant said.

USDA increased its estimate for US corn stocks at the end of the 2017-18 marketing year to 2.487 billion bushels or 63.173 million mt, up 147 million bushels from its October estimate.

USDA's forecast for US corn exports in the 2017-18 year was 1.925 billion bushels, 75 million bushels above its October forecast.

The prediction of increased exports reflects expectations of improved US competitiveness, reduced exports by Ukraine and increased demand from Mexico, based on sharply lower sorghum production prospects, the USDA said.

The agency increased its estimate for global corn stocks at the end of the 2017-18 marketing year to 203.86 million mt, up 2.9 million mt from its October projection of 200.96 million mt. This would be 22.72 million mt below its estimate for the 2016-2017 marketing year.

The agency left unchanged its midpoint season average price for the 2017-2018 marketing year at $3.20/bu.

Corn is the primary feedstock for ethanol production in the US and is the main competitor for dried distillers grains.

--Sergio Alvarado,

--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,