U.S. Corn-Stockpiles Estimate Lowered as Rain Delays Plantings

Corn inventories in the U.S., the world’s largest grower and exporter, will be smaller than the government forecast last month after wet, cold weather reduced the harvest potential.

Reserves on Aug. 31, 2014, will total 1.949 billion bushels, down from 2.004 billion forecast in May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting 1.829 billion, on average. Production will total 14.005 billion bushels, down from 14.14 billion estimated in May. The average projection of 26 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was 13.82 billion.

About 17.67 inches (44.9 centimeters) of rain fell in Iowa, the biggest U.S. producer, from March 1 through May 31, the most in state records that began in 1873. Some farmers may seed soybeans instead, which can be planted later in the year, or leave fields empty in exchange for government subsidized crop-insurance payments. In each of the past three years, the USDA’s forecasts for record crops proved wrong because of adverse weather.

U.S. Crop

“The U.S. crop is not as big as forecast earlier this year, but large enough to rebuild inventories,” Jerry Gidel, the chief feed-grain analyst for Rice Dairy LLC in Chicago, said before the report. “The cuts in crop production from wet, cold planting weather will come slowly because weather in July and August will determine the size of this year’s crop.”

Farmers will sow 97.3 million acres, unchanged from last month, the USDA said. Average yields this year may reach 156.5 bushels an acre, down from 158 bushels forecast last month and up from 123.4 bushels in 2012. Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, with a 2012 value of $77.4 billion, government figures show.

World inventories on Oct. 1, 2014, will total 151.83 million metric tons, down from 154.63 million forecast a month ago, the USDA said. Analysts expected 151.21 million tons, the average of 16 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey.

Corn futures through yesterday tumbled 35 percent from a record $8.49 a bushel in August, joining wheat and soybeans in a bear market as the government forecast increasing supplies after last year’s drought-reduced crops.

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