A clash of the crop forecasters saw upbeat corn and soybean crop estimates from Informa Economics trump downbeat figures from rival Lanworth to send prices lower.
Lanworth on Friday pegged the yield of the drought-hit US
corn yield at 120.2 bushels per acre, below the US Department of Agriculture
forecast of 122.8 bushels per acre.
Coupled with a forecast for extra abandonment, thanks to the
impact of the worst US drought since 1956, Lanworth estimated the total US crop
at 10.395bn bushels – more than 300m bushels short of the official figure, and
so in theory supportive for prices.
The analysis group, whose work relies to a large extent on
translating clues in satellite photos, was downbeat on the soybean crop too,
pegging it at 2.735m bushels, 40m bushels fewer than the USDA number.
However, any boost the data gave prices, with Chicago soybeans
for November hitting a high of $15.69 ½ a bushel soon thereafter, was undermined minutes later
when Informa Economics came in with crop numbers above those released by farm
Broker estimates for US corn output and yield, ahead of Wasde report
Allendale: 10.603bn bushels, 123.2 bushels per acre
FCStone: 10.824bn bushels, 123.9 bushels per acre
Informa: 11.194bn bushels, 127.0 bushels per acre
Lanworth: 10.395bn bushels, 120.2 bushels per acre
Average: 10.754bn bushels, 123.6 bushels per acre
Current USDA figure: 10.727bn bushels, 122.8 bushels per acre
Informa put the corn yield of 127.0 bushels per acre, a
figure which, while well below market hopes above 160 bushels per acre before drought
hit, lifted the crop to 11.194bn bushels.
For soybeans, Informa pegged production at 2.86m bushels, on
a yield of 37.8 bushels per acre.
The initial market reaction was to nearly eradicate gains in
soybean futures, while corn hit an intraday low of $7.46 ¼ a bushel, a loss of
The data come ahead of the USDA's release on October 11 of
its next monthly Wasde crop report, which is widely expected to raise forecasts
for the US soybean crop, following better-than-expected harvest results.
Broker RJ O'Brien has flagged an "ongoing bombardment of
mostly 40+ bushels-per-acre yield reports that support growing view that USDA
may be understating the 2012 US soybean yield by 3.5-5 bushels per acre".
Broker estimates for US soy output and yield, ahead of Wasde report
Allendale: 2.773bn bushels, 36.9 bushels per acre
FCStone: 2,849bn bushels, 38.2 bushels per acre
Informa: 2.86bn bushels, 37.8 bushels per acre
Lanworth: 2.735bn bushels
Average: 2.804bn bushels, 37.6 bushels per acre
Current USDA figure: 2.634bn bushels, 35.2 bushels per acre
However, the figures for the corn harvest are in greater
dispute, with some analysts believing a late revival in harvest results, from the
likes of Minnesota and North Dakota, will foster a yield upgrade.
Forecasts are further complicated by ideas that the USDA may
allow for greater crop abandonment, but with spring sowings potentially higher
than had been thought.
Lanworth estimated that 86.5m acres will make it to harvest,
900,000 acres fewer than the USDA is currently factoring in.
Earlier, Allendale pegged the harvested area at 86.1m acres, as it forecast, at 123.2 bushels per acre, higher corn yield than the USDA, but a 120m-bushel lower production figure, thanks to the abandonment forecast.
For soybeans, the broker forecast a higher yield figure and an upgrade to the sowings number, after data from a USDA agency indicated buoyant plantings.