Record corn production forecast for 2011/12

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The 2011/12 U.S. corn crop is projected at a record 13,505 million bushels, up more than 1 billion bushels from a year earlier. This year-over-year change stems from a 4.0-million-acre expected increase in planted area to 92.2 million acres as forecast in the March 31 Prospective Plantings report. Harvested acreage is based on projected demand for silage, reflecting forecast roughage-consuming animal units (RCAU), projected silage yields, and historical abandonment. The yield projection is based on the simple linear trend of the national average yield for 1990-2010 (161.7 bushels per acre) adjusted downward by 3 bushels to reflect the slow planting progress so far this year.

As of May 8, 2011, only 40 percent of the 2011 corn crop has been planted, which is down sharply from the 5-year average of 59 percent. The slow pace of planting is a result of extremely wet weather throughout much of the corn-growing regions. States where planting progress has lagged the most include Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, and Michigan. Considerable planting occurred in Iowa during the first week in May, allowing that State to catch up to the planting progress for the previous 5 years. Planting progress also occurred in Illinois, but it still lags considerably behind the 5-year average.

Beginning corn stocks for 2011/12 are forecast at 730 million bushels, the smallest beginning stocks in 15 years and down almost 1 billion bushels from 2010/11. Total corn supply is expected to be 14,255 million bushels, up 75 million from 2010/11.

Total corn use for 2011/12 is projected at 13,355 million bushels, below last year’s estimated record high of 13,450 million. This year-over-year decrease stems from a 100-million-bushel decrease in exports and a 5-million-bushel increase in domestic use. FSI use is projected up by 55 million bushels, mostly due to an expected 50-million-bushel increase in corn used for ethanol. A slow recovery in animal numbers and continued large supplies of distillers’ grains are forecast to lower corn feed and residual use in 2011/12. Corn feed and residual is projected at 5,100 million bushels, down by 50 million bushels from 2010/11.

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Ending stocks of corn for 2011/12 are projected at 900 million bushels, up from 730 million projected for 2010/11. Stocks remain historically tight with stocks-to-use projected at 6.7 percent, compared with the current year projection of 5.4 percent.

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The 2011/12 season average farm price for corn is projected at a record $5.50 to $6.50 per bushel, compared with $5.10 to $5.40 per bushel projected for 2010/11.

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