The USDA’s Interagency Commodity Estimates Committees prepared projections for the 2013-14 U.S. marketing year for corn and soybeans, as well as other crops, at the USDA’s 2013 Agricultural Outlook Forum on Feb. 22.

Under the assumption of normal spring and summer weather conditions, the projections for both crops reflect expectations of much larger U.S. production, increased consumption, larger year-ending stocks, and lower prices than experienced during the current marketing year.

“The projections are consistent with our expectations with some minor exceptions,” said University of Illinois agricultural economist Darrel Good.

“For corn, the USDA expects planted acreage at 96.5 million, only 700,000 less than the large acreage of a year ago,” Good said.

“Acreage last year was bolstered in part by record early planting and less than the normal amount of prevented plantings. A more normal spring this year might result in fewer corn acres in favor of soybean acres.

“The acreage projection is lower than most private projections as it assumes some decline in total crop acreage, but captures the general expectation of large corn acreage. Almost regardless of planted acreage, acreage harvested for grain is expected to be larger than harvested in 2012,” he said.

The difference between planted and harvested acreage (acreage harvested for silage or abandoned) was an abnormally large 9.8 million acres in 2012, according to Good. With more normal weather, that difference would likely be in the range of 7.2 to 7.8 million acres in 2013. The USDA projects a difference of 7.7 million.

Good said that based on a model estimated over the period 1988 through 2012, the USDA projects the 2013 U.S. average corn yield at 163.6 bushels per acre.

“The model incorporates trend, planting progress, and summer weather variables to explain average yield,” he said.

“The 2013 projection assumes normal planting progress, no extreme June dryness, and average summer weather. The forecast is higher than most other forecasts, including ours. Using a longer time period and the application of a different weather model, our analysis points to a 2013 yield near 160 bushels,” Good said.

According to Good, a record-large corn crop, near the USDA projection of 14.5 billion bushels, is consistent with our expectation.