In its first survey-based forecast of the year for corn and soybeans, USDA is projecting a larger crop than last month for corn and smaller production for soybeans.

In the Aug. 11, crop report, USDA projects 2006 corn production at 10.98 billion bushels, up 236 million from last month’s forecast. Based on conditions as of Aug. 1, yields are expected to average 152.2 bushels per acre, up 4.3 bushels from last year. If realized, this yield would be the second largest and production would be the third largest on record.

The largest yield increase from last year is in Illinois where farmers expect to average 172 bushels per acre, 29 bushels above last year’s drought-reduced yield. The largest yield decreases are expected in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and North Dakota.

In USDA’s supply and demand estimates, projected corn feed and residual use was increased 75 million bushels, while ending stocks were increased 155 million bushels. The projected price range was decreased 10 cents on each end to $2.15 to $2.55 per bushel.

Forecast 2006 sorghum production is down sharply from last month’s projection, trimming domestic use and exports. The projected 2006-07 price range for sorghum is decreased 10 cents on each end to $1.95 to $2.35 per bushel to reflect the overall increase in feed supplies.

Soybean yield prospects are lower due to dry weather in the western Corn Belt and Plains. Soybean yields are forecast at 39.6 bushels per acre, 1.1 bushels below last month’s trend yield projection, and 3.7 bushels below last year’s record yield.

The first survey-based forecast of U.S. soybean production is 2.93 billion bushels, 82 million bushels below the July forecast and 158 million bushels below last year’s crop.

Yields are projected lower than 2005 throughout the Great Plains, the western Corn Belt, and the Gulf Coast States, while yields are expected to remain unchanged or increase in the Ohio Valley, Arkansas, Missouri, and the Atlantic Coast States. Area for harvest, at 73.9 million acres, remains unchanged from June but is up 4 percent from 2005.

Despite lower forecast production, exports and crush are unchanged.

Lower production and reduced carry-in leave ending stocks at 450 million bushels, down 110 million from last month. Soybean oil ending stocks were reduced this month, reflecting increased domestic soybean oil disappearance. Recently released Census Bureau data indicate biodiesel production continues to expand rapidly.

The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2006-07 is projected at $5 to $6 per bushel, unchanged from last month. The soybean meal price is projected at $155 to $185 per short ton, also unchanged. Soybean oil prices are projected higher this month at 23 to 27 cents per pound.

e-mail: erobinson@farmpress.com