U.S. farmers are projected to reap a record 13.37-billion bushel corn harvest this year, topping last year’s crop – the current record – by 2 percent, a government report said.

A drier than usual spring allowed many farmers to finish corn plantings ahead of schedule, signaling higher yields compared with the average for recent years, according to the USDA's monthly Supply and Demand report yesterday.

For pork, beef and dairy producers, today’s report suggests abundant grain supplies and cheaper prices after high feed costs led to losses during the previous two years.

“The outlook for U.S. feed grains is for larger supplies with higher beginning stocks and production,” the USDA said in the report.

“However, rising use is expected to limit the growth in ending stocks,” the USDA said, citing continued growth in the ethanol industry.

The USDA projected an average U.S. corn yield for 2010 of 163.5 bushels an acre, down 1.2 bushels from a record in 2009 but about 2.7 bushels above the trend of the past 20 years.

Corn supplies for the 2010-2011 marketing year are projected to reach a record 15.12 billion bushels, up 2.2 percent from 14.79 billion in 2009-2010, the USDA said.

With cattle and pig herds declining, the USDA estimated corn feed and residual use for 2010-2011 will fall to 5.35 billion bushels, down from 5.38 billion bushels in 2009-2010.

Also, the USDA projected an average corn farm price of $3.20 to $3.80 a bushel, compared with $3.50 to $3.70 in 2009-2010.

In trading yesterday, December corn futures in Chicago rose 6 ½ cents to $3.93 a bushel.