At 10.706 billion bushels, the USDA’s October forecast of the U.S. corn crop was about 100 million bushels larger than the average trade guess and about equal to the September forecast.

The October soybean forecast, at 2.86 billion bushels, was about 90 million bushels larger than the average trade guess and 126 million larger than the September forecast.  

Prices of both commodities increased immediately after the forecasts were released, according to University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel

Good.

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“The positive response to what appeared to be neutral to negative production forecasts suggests the market had priced in the risk of even larger production forecasts,” Good said.

“In addition, the USDA forecast year-ending stocks of both commodities to be near pipeline levels, and smaller than expected in the case of corn. In the case of soybeans, the projection of marketing-year consumption was increased by 150 million bushels.

“Some interpreted the increase as a reflection of stronger demand than had been previously forecast. However, the USDA also lowered the projection of the marketing-year average farm price by 75 cents per bushel, in a range of $14.25 to $16.25.

“It is unlikely that underlying soybean demand is much different than forecast last month. Instead, the increase in the supply of soybeans (shift in the supply curve) should result in the supply and consumption equilibrium occurring at a higher level of consumption and a lower average price than projected last month.

“The projection of corn consumption was reduced by 100 million bushels, acknowledging that total consumption will be limited by the small crop and smaller-than-expected stocks of old crop corn. The projection of the marketing year average price was reduced by only 10 cents from the September forecast, in a range of $7.10 to $8.50,” Good said.

The USDA will release new yield and production forecasts on Nov. 9. Good said that some variation from the October forecasts should be expected, with history suggesting a slightly lower yield forecast for corn and a slightly higher forecast for soybeans.

“In the previous 30 years, the U.S. average corn yield forecast declined in September and again in October, as it did this year, in seven years,” Good said.

“The November yield forecast was below the October forecast in five of those seven years. The decline in the forecast ranged from 1.5 to 7.2 (1993) bushels and averaged 3.2 bushels.

“In four of the five years with a lower yield forecast in November, the yield estimate was even lower in January. For the two years that saw a yield increase in November, the increases were very small, 0.4 and 0.1 bushel.