U.S. Corn-Stockpile Estimate Raised as Feed, Exports Decline

Corn inventories in the U.S., the world’s top grower and exporter, will gain more than the government forecast last month as lower feed use and exports offset a smaller harvest of the rain-drenched crop.

Reserves on Aug. 31, 2014, will total 1.959 billion bushels, up from 1.949 billion (49.51 million metric tons) forecast in June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting 1.895 billion, on average. USDA said inventories before the start of this year’s harvest will decline to 729 million bushels, down from 769 million forecast a month ago and 989 million last year.

Production will total a record 13.95 billion bushels, down from 14.005 billion estimated a month ago. The average projection of 20 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was 13.983 billion. Exports are seen at 1.25 billion bushels, down from 1.3 billion forecast last month, while feed and residual use is estimated at 5.15 billion bushels, a decline from 5.2 billion forecast in June.

Almost 18 inches (46 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. The same three-month period in Illinois to North Dakota was the wettest in at least 112 years, data from the National Weather Service show. In each of the past three years, the USDA’s forecasts for record crops proved wrong after hot weather in July and August cut yields.

Farmers will harvest 89.1 million acres this year, compared with 89.5 million forecast last month, the USDA said. Average yields this year may reach 156.5 bushels an acre, unchanged from 156.5 bushels estimated in June 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.

Corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade through yesterday tumbled 39 percent from a record $8.49 a bushel in August.

Alan Bjerga in Washington at abjerga@bloomberg.net

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.