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Lower yields nip U. S. corn, soybean crops

U. S. growers will reap 12.02 billion bushels of corn and 2.921 billion bushels of soybeans this year, the government forecast on Nov. 10, lowering its estimates for both crops slightly due to lower yields in a rain-slowed harvest.

“The lateness of this year’s fall row-crop harvest has limited planting opportunities for both Soft Red and Hard Red Winter wheat,” said the U. S. Agriculture Department, which could impinge on next year’s crop. It said seed use for wheat would be down 2.4 per cent.

USDA cut its forecast of the corn crop by 13 million bushels due to lower-than-expected yields in the eastern corn belt and northern Plains. It cut the soybean forecast by 17 million bushels due to lower yields in scattered states. All the same, the corn crop would be the second largest on record and soybeans the fourth largest.

This year’s corn crop was forecast to sell for an average $4.40 a bushel at the farm gate, soybeans for $9.85 a bushel and wheat for $6.85 a bushel (all figures US$). All are down sharply from USDA’s previous estimates – corn down 35 cents, soybeans down 60 cents and wheat down 20 cents – in line with a slump in cash and futures prices. Russia harvested a record wheat crop.

Americans will eat less meat because of cutbacks in production, said USDA. It forecast per capita meat consumption of 98.2 kg in 2009, down 2.3 kg from 2007. Producers have complained of losses due to high feed costs.

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