As the 2006 harvest season ends, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service estimates the corn crop at 10.7 billion bushels – 3 percent lower than 2005. NASS estimates the soybean harvest at 3.20 billion bushels – 5 percent above the 2005 harvest.

Availability and price of corn and soybeans will have a major impact on livestock prices because most meat-producing animals are fed corn/soybean meal rations.

NASS’ latest corn production forecast at 10.7 billion bushels was down 1 percent from its October harvest estimate. Based on conditions as of Nov. 1, yields are expected to average 151.2 bushels per acre – down 2.3 bushels from October but 3.3 bushels higher than last year. If realized, the yield would be the second largest on record, behind 2004.

Corn yield forecasts declined compared to last month across much of the western and central Corn Belt and Atlantic Coast states. Producers reported that actual harvest yields were not as good as expected earlier due to lower grain weight per ear. Stalk quality and lodging problems were also reported in some areas. Producers in the northern Great Plains, Delta States, and parts of the Southeast reported better than expected yields. Compared with last year, yields are higher in all Corn Belt states, except Iowa and Minnesota.

The 3.20 billion-bushel soybean harvest forecast increased slightly from October's estimate. NASS noted that if its latest harvest estimate is realized, the 2006 soybean yield would be the largest U.S. soybean crop on record.

Based on Nov. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 43 bushels per acre – up 0.2 bushel from October and equal to last year's record yield. U.S. soybean harvest acreage was forecast at 74.5 million acres – 5 percent larger than 2005.

Source: Meat News; USDA