Composite photo of soybean and corn harvest

USDA forecasts corn production down, soybeans up from ’16

Legislative Watch: Crop report calls for less corn, more beans; West Coast labor agreement extended; Perdue proclaims Farmers Market Week; Congress on break, take the time to contact them.

USDA’s latest Crop Production report estimates this year’s corn production at 14.2 billion bushels or down 7% from last year. Average corn yield is estimated at 169.5 bushels per acre, down 5.1 bushels from 2016.

According to the USDA, if realized this will be the third highest yield and production on record. A total of 90.9 million acres were planted this year. The report found as of July 30, 61% of this year’s corn crop was in good or excellent condition, 15% below the same time last ear.

The USDA is estimating a range for the season-average corn price received by producers at $2.90-$3.70 per bushel.

Soybean production is forecast at 4.38 billion bushels, up 2% over last year. Yields are estimated at 49.4 bushels per acre or down 2.7 bushels compared to 2016. Soybean acres for harvest is estimated at a record 88.7 million acres with planted acres estimated at a record-high 89.5 million acres.

USDA is estimating the season-average soybean price for 2017-18 at $8.45 to $10.15 per bushel.

USDA is predicting this year’s wheat production at 1.74 billion bushels, down 25% from 2016 and cotton production is estimated at 20.5 million 480-pound bales, up 20% from last year.

USDA’s estimates for corn, soybean and wheat production were higher than the trade had expected.

West Coast labor agreement extended
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports, approved a three-year contract extension with the Pacific Maritime Association. The contract’s provisions will raise wages, maintain health benefits and increase pensions.

The contract was set to expire in 2019, but will now be extended to July 2022. Approval of the contract is expected to help avoid a repeat of the 2014-15 slowdown at West Coast ports, which lasted seven months and cost billions of dollars in lost economic activity.

The U.S. meat industry was especially hard hit during that seven-month stretch. The U.S. Meat Export Federation estimated during that time the labor slowdown depressed the tonnage of U.S. beef and pork exports by 10%.

Farmers Market Week wrapping up
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has proclaimed this week, Aug. 6-12, as National Farmers Market Week to support local producers and encourage families to meet and buy from local farmers markets.

In signing the proclamation, Perdue notes that farmers markets and other agricultural direct marketing outlets contribute nearly $9 billion per year to the U.S. economy. Perdue says farmers markets “serve as significant outlets by which small-to-medium, new and beginning, and veteran agricultural producers market agricultural products, generating revenue that supports the sustainability of family farms and the revitalization of rural communities nationwide.”

To locate farmers markets in your area visit the USDA website.

Congress is home and it’s time to contact your member
Congress is in recess until after Labor Day. Now would be a good time to contact your Senators and Congressman as they travel their states and districts to discuss issues facing American agriculture including trade, renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, farm bill, tax reform, etc.

Congress will have a number of key issues to deal with in September including finishing the fiscal year ’18 appropriations bills and raising the debt ceiling.

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