Officials are overestimating the American corn harvest by more than 500m bushels (13m tonnes) – thanks largely to overoptimistic area projections, Linn Group analysts said, as the countdown begins in earnest to the next keynote US crop report.
The Chicago-based broker pegged the US corn yield at 149.1 bushels per acre, below the US Department of Agriculture’s 153.0 bushels-per-acre figure, but above forecasts from many other observers who have warned of more significant weather damage to the crop.
ProFarmer scouts last week pegged the national yield at 147.9 bushels per acre, following a tour of Midwest crops, while Michael Cordonnier, at Soybean and Corn Advisor, on Tuesday downgraded his forecast to 148 bushels per acre, and some traders have talked of estimates in the low 140s.
However, Linn Group’s estimate for total corn production, at 12.391m bushels, was 90m bushels below the ProFarmer figure, let alone the USDA estimate, thanks to a lower idea of the area that will make it through to harvest.
"Really, we could not in good conscience use the USDA figure" for harvested acres of 84.4m, Linn analyst Jerrod Kitt told Agrimoney.com, citing "significant abandonment" to dry crops in the US South, and to inundation earlier in the year after the Missouri river burst its banks.
"We do not think it’s right. A lot of acres down south, and around the Missouri river, have been lost," Mr Kitt said.
Linn estimated the corn area that US farmers will reap at 83.1m acres, undercutting the USDA on soybean harvestings too, by 700,000 acres, with an estimate of 73.1m acres.
The estimate for soybean yield was pegged at 41.0 bushels per acre, and for production at 2.997bn bushels, 59m bushels below the USDA forecast.
‘Poor early harvest’
The data come amid a spate of revised crop estimates, ahead of the USDA’s next benchmark Wasde report on crop supply and demand, due on September 12.
FCStone and Informa Economics are due to release forecasts later this week.
Meanwhile, harvest results are beginning to come in too, with US Commodities noting that "the early yields in the Mississippi Delta and southern Midwest are poor, down 10-30 bushels per acre versus a year ago".
Mr Kitt said that Linn’s – relatively – upbeat forecast for the US corn yield followed findings from the broker’s tour showing "surprisingly good " crops in north west Missouri, with firm results in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota too.
Crops in Nebraska, "which a lot of people think will be the garden spot", were less promising than they first appeared, usually due to disappointing rates of pollination.
Linn’s corn yield estimate of 149.1 bushels per acre was down 3.0 bushels per acre on the broker’s forecast at the start of the month, but some 1-2 bushels per acre above figures analysts were thinking of ahead of the tour.