Good reported that a combination of large corn acreage and a projected record average yield of 166 bushels are expected to result in a U.S. corn harvest of 14.79 billion bushels this fall.  That projection is 2.432 billion bushels larger than the 2011 crop and 1.698 billion larger than the previous record crop of 2009.  

The yield projection is 2 bushels above the trend calculation for 2012 based on the trend of the U.S. average yield from 1990 through 2010.  The above-trend yield reflects the anticipated impact of a smaller than average portion of the crop planted after the optimum date for maximum yields.

“History suggests that a new record average yield will require below-average summer temperatures and above-average summer precipitation, such as occurred in 2004 and 2009,” Good said.

“The USDA’s June 30 Acreage report will provide estimates of planted and harvested acreage. Ongoing weather conditions and the USDA’s weekly report of crop conditions will provide the basis for yield projections prior to the USDA’s August Crop Production report,” he said.

Another factor that will unfold over the next few months, Good said, is the prospective size of the corn and feed grain crops in the rest of the Northern Hemisphere.

“The USDA projects larger corn crops than those of last year in China, Canada, Mexico, and the Ukraine,” Good said. “Production of all feed grains is expected to be larger in the EU, Canada, China, and Mexico.

“The largest increases in production, however, are expected in the Southern Hemisphere as production rebounds in Argentina and South Africa.  

“Those prospects will unfold in late 2012 and early 2013. The first USDA forecast for the 2012-13 marketing year is for record foreign feed grain production. The size of those crops will influence export demand for U.S. corn, with Chinese demand to be of special interest,” he said.

In addition to production prospects, Good said the corn market will be influenced by the world economic and financial conditions as they impact consumer incomes and commodity demand.

“Domestically, the rate of implementation of 15 percent ethanol blends will also be important for corn demand as the blend wall for E10 approaches,” Good said.

“Conditions are in place for a very large U.S. corn harvest, a return to a more abundant stocks situation, and a return to lower prices. The magnitude of these changes is still to be determined and will unfold over an extended period.  

“Even with higher average yields this year, substantially lower corn prices could have a disproportionately large impact on producer returns as anecdotal evidence suggests that a relatively small portion of the 2012 crop has been forward-priced at higher price levels,” he said.