By Joanna Levin

US farmers are on target to produce the second largest maize crop on record and achieve the second highest yield, according to the US government.

Producers will harvest 4% more maize this year than in 1997 at 9.74 billion bushels, according to the USDAs latest report released on Friday. This is 2% higher than last months forecast.

Yields are expected to improve to 132 bushels/acre from 127 bushels in 1997 due to the good weather conditions seen this season. This compares with last months prediction of 130 bushels. Already 4% of this years crop has been harvested and the US Department of Agriculture estimates that 67% of the crop is good to excellent.

This picture of oversupply has already been reflected in domestic maize prices. Following months of steep decline caused by a supply glut and poor export demand, US maize prices have finally managed to stabilise at low levels over the past couple of weeks. On the Chicago Board of Trade, maize futures have moved sideways since the start of this month amid choppy trading while prices dropped last week in reaction to the government report, but recovered again towards the end of the week.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, the December futures price closed on Wednesday 16 September at 208.75¢/bushel, down 1.5¢ from Tuesday and unchanged from a couple of weeks ago.

  • Click here for current Chicago corn (maize) prices