USDA raises estimates for U.S. corn supply

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By Rick Greenwell

(NCGA: September 12) More U.S. corn will be available in 2012 and 2013 than previously anticipated, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Wednesday. Despite reductions to the corn-production forecast, revised forecasts indicating higher projected carry-in increased overall supply estimates by 108 million bushels.

“The estimates released today illustrate how, even under such adverse conditions, U.S. corn farmers provide the corn that our nation needs,” said National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer, a grower in Illinois. “Additionally, the increased overall supply further shows what our members have understood all along, that you cannot count the corn before it is harvested. In light of this, I hope that cooler heads prevail both in the media and our government. With harvest less than a quarter complete, we need to wait patiently for a clearer picture of the crop to emerge.”

Estimated U.S. corn production in 2012 did decrease by 52 million bushels, with the national average yield dropping slightly to 122.8 bushels per acre. The slight decrease resulted in a total production estimate of 10.7 billion bushels. Increases in projected production across the South, where an early harvest is boosting currently available supplies have partially offset lower yield and production estimates in the Corn Belt and Central Plains.

The report also forecasts that total U.S. corn use in the 2012-2013 crop marketing year will be higher than previously expected, with increased expectations for feed and residual uses, which rose by 75 million bushels from August estimates, more than offsetting lower projected exports. Export projections for both the 2011-2012 and the 2012-2013 crop fell this month, by 10 million bushels in the current year and 50 million bushels in the next. The lowered estimates come as the pace of shipments continues to slow and competition from lower-priced South American supplies increases.

Ending stock projections for the 2012-2013 crop rose by 83 million bushels this month to 733 million. As estimated supplies increased, the projected corn season-average price dropped by 30 cents, now ranging from $7.20 to $8.60 per bushel.

Fall Armyworm Moth Counts Continue to Climb!

We received this article this week about Fall Armyworm from Doug Johnson Extension Entomologist and wanted to share it with you all.

Capture of fall armyworm (FAW) moths has increased for the second week in a row, and this week by a huge margin. Not only has an unprecedented second distinct FAW flight begun, it has surpassed this year’s previous peak in size. The August flight which reached 549 moths / trap-week for the trap-week ending Aug. 16, now stands at 675 moths / trap-week for trap-week ending Sept. 13. Will it go higher? Only time will tell.

In addition to the numbers of FAW moths being captured, there is a second situation that gives me pause. This second flight peak will be earlier in the season than we normally see, if one occurs.  If the current numbers turn out to be the largest capture, then the peak will be approximately two weeks earlier than we would normally expect. Putting this in perspective, if we have an average frost date of Oct. 22, this flight has approximately five-and-a-half weeks for the caterpillars to develop and feed on our crops as opposed to a more normal three weeks. If frost is late this interval could be even longer.

Moths are not the damaging stage of this insect. These moths were captured because they were seeking female mates. Once mating and egg lay has occurred, we will begin to see very small FAW caterpillars. This is the beginning of the damaging stage. This will likely take a week, perhaps two, depending on  temperatures. Of course, further south and west (toward the upper Mississippi River bottoms) caterpillars will appear sooner. Further north and east (in the western 1/3rd of Ky.), caterpillars will take longer to appear. Fortunately, the traps in Lexington have just this week captured FAW for the first time this year; and the numbers are small. I doubt that there is any unusual risk in central and eastern portions of our field crop / pasture-hay production area.

Remember, as well, that these trap counts will NOT predict what will happen in an individual field. There is really no easy way to detect the presence of this pest. One must go to the field and look for their presence / activity. I would start by sweeping in grasses that have received enough rainfall to start re-growth. This will be a preferred egg laying location. FAW will lay eggs in soybeans, but they are not the preferred host. If this generation acts like the last, most soybean infestations will start with worms moving from grass waterways, roadsides & pasture/hay fields.

Crops primarily at risk will be newly planted wheat, pasture / hay production and very late maturing soybeans.