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BRIAN HOOPS

By Staff | Oct 1, 2010

Informa Economics sees smaller 2010 U.S. corn, soybean and wheat crops than the U.S. government has forecast, noting that the analytical firm’s view reflects disappointing corn yields and fewer soy and wheat plantings.

Informa also forecast U.S. farmers to plant more corn and wheat in 2011 and fewer soybeans than in 2010. Informa estimated 2010 U.S. corn production at 12.88 billion bushels, off the current USDA estimate for farmers to harvest a record 13.16-billion-bushel corn crop. The firm lowered its corn harvest forecast even though it expects USDA to raise its 2010 corn plantings figure by 250,000 acres.

Informa is estimating an average U.S. corn yield of 158.5 bushels per acre, versus USDA estimate at 162.5 Bu/A. Informa pegged the 2010 U.S. soybean crop at 3.412 billion bushels to reflect 1.4 million fewer soy acres planted in 2010 than what USDA is estimating.

USDA’s latest U.S. soy output forecast is 3.483 billion bushels – an all-time high. The group pegged the 2010 U.S. wheat crop at 2.224 billion bushels, down from USDA’s estimate at 2.265 billion.

Informa is factoring in 1.17 million fewer wheat seedings than USDA’s latest forecast. The drop in acres reflected larger-than-expected prevented plantings in 2010.

For the upcoming crop year, Informa pegged 2011 U.S. corn plantings at 90.4 million acres, up from USDA’s estimate of 87.9 million seeded this year. The firm forecast 2011 U.S. soy seedings at 77.4 million acreage, versus the 78.9 million planted in 2010. Informa pegged 2011 U.S. wheat plantings at 57.0 million acres, compared to the 54.3 million seeded in 2010.

These were Informa’s first 2011 U.S. planting forecasts. Informa officials had no comment on the numbers. USDA was scheduled to release its annual small grains summary and quarterly stocks figures on Thursday.

In the monthly cold storage report, the USDA forecast frozen food stocks in refrigerated warehouses on Aug. 31 were greater than year earlier levels for eggs, chicken and cheese. Butter stocks were down 22 percent from last month and down 42 percent from a year ago.

Total red meat supplies in freezers were down 1 percent from the previous month and down 19 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were down 2 percent from the previous month and down 27 percent from last year.

Stocks of pork bellies were down 68 percent from last month and down 86 percent from last year. Total frozen poultry supplies on Aug. 31 were up 2 percent from the previous month, but down 8 percent from a year ago.

Total stocks of chicken were up 4 percent from the previous month and up 8 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 1 percent from last month and down 24 percent from Aug. 31, 2009.

In the quarterly hog and pig inventory report, released Sept. 24, the USDA forecast U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs on Sept. 1 was 65 million head. This was down 3 percent from Sept. 1, 2009, but up 1 percent from June 1.

Breeding inventory, at 5.77 million head, was down 2 percent from last year and down slightly from the previous quarter. Market hog inventory, at 59.2 million head, was down 3 percent from last year but up 1 percent from last quarter.

The June to August 2010 pig crop, at 28.5 million head, was down 1 percent from 2009 and down 3 percent from 2008.

Sows farrowing during this period totaled 2.91 million head, down 2 percent from 2009 and down 6 percent from 2008. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 50 percent of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was 9.81 for the June to August 2010 period, compared to 9.70 last year.

The litter rate equaled the record for pigs saved per litter set during the March to May 2010 period. Pigs saved per litter by size of operation ranged from 7.80 for operations with 1-99 hogs and pigs to 9.90 for operations with more than 5,000 hogs and pigs.

U.S. hog producers intend to have 2.88 million sows farrow from September to November, down 1 percent from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2009 and down 5 percent from 2008.

Intended farrowings for December 2010 to February 2011, at 2.89 million sows, are up slightly from 2010, but down 4 percent from 2009.

Brian Hoops is president and senior market analyst of Midwest Market Solutions Inc. Midwest Market Solutions is a full-service commodity brokerage and marketing advisory service, clearing through R.J. O’Brien.

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