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USDA says drought losses not as bad as first feared

washington / reuters / The searing U.S. drought has done less damage than feared to the nation’s corn crop, and worldwide supplies of wheat, corn and soybeans are fairly stable despite harsh weather in North America and Europe, according to the USDA.

The U.S. corn crop would be the smallest in six years and the soybean crop would be the smallest in nine years. But USDA’s corn forecast was larger than traders expected and its estimates of the corn and soybean stockpiles at the end of this marketing year were larger as well.

“The minor change in new-crop production was the clear surprise,” said Rich Nelson, chief strategist at Allendale.

However, it will be the third year in a row of tight corn supplies, with only a 3-1/2 week corn stockpile on hand at the end of the marketing year and two weeks’ worth of soybeans.

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