Big crop forecasts hit USgrain and oilseed prices

13 August 1998

Big crop forecasts hit US
grain and oilseed prices

US grain and oilseed prices fell in the wake of a forecast from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) of record soyabean production this year, and the second biggest maize crop ever.

The department predicts soyabean production at 2.82 billion bushels, against some 2.77bn bushels last year. Some analysts said even these forecasts were too cautious.

Corn – or maize – production is now estimated at 9.59bn bushels – up 2% on last years 9.37bn bushels. Wheat production is expected to rise 1% to 2.55bn bushels.

USDA said that while rain early in July added to the problem of saturated fields to the east and south of the corn belt, the weather in the main growing areas had been good. The Pacific north-west also saw good conditions.

But parts of the south suffered from drought and extreme heat. Cotton has been particularly affected and USDA expects to see a 24% fall.

The expectation of a good European harvest has depressed grain and oilseed prices.

  • Financial Times 13/08/98 page 28

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