Good quoted the USDA's weekly Crop Progress report in saying
that 6 percent of the corn acreage in the 18 major producing
states was harvested as of Aug. 26 and 10 percent was harvested
as of Sept. 2, implying about 9 percent of the acreage was
harvested by the end of August. Harvest progress by the end of
August last year, and the average for the previous five years,
was about 2.5 percent, Good said.
"If the average yield of the harvested acreage this year was
near the average of 122.8 bushels forecast for the U.S, then
about 965 million bushels were likely harvested in August,
compared to about 310 million bushels likely harvested in August
last year," Good said. "However, this year the most advanced
harvest progress, relative to average and to that of last year,
was in Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee, where state
average yields are projected to range from 70 to 91 bushels, or
36 to 53 bushels below the national average yield."
Harvest progress in Southern states not included in the
18-state report was well advanced by the end of August, but with
progress well ahead of last year's pace only in Arkansas and to
a lesser extent in Louisiana. Progress was behind that of last
year in the other Southern states.
"It seems likely that new-crop corn available before Sept. 1
this year was about 600 million bushels larger than the
availability of a year ago," Good said.
The question is how much of the newly harvested crop was
actually consumed in August.
Good said the degree of substitution of new-crop for old-crop
corn in August has implications for the magnitude of old-crop
corn still in inventory on Sept. 1. He explained that regardless
of how new-crop corn was consumed in August -- feed, export or
domestic processing -- it will be reflected in the balance sheet
in the feed and residual category.
The USDA has forecast the Sept. 1 inventory of old-crop corn
at 1.181 billion bushels, implying consumption of old-crop corn
during the fourth quarter of the 2011-12 marketing year at 1.974
"Based on weekly export inspections through August and Census
Bureau export estimates through July, we estimate fourth-quarter
exports at 285 million bushels," Good said. "That compares to
290 million bushels implied by USDA's forecast of marketing year
Based on weekly estimates from the U.S. Energy Information
Administration, ethanol production during the fourth quarter of
the 2011-12 marketing year was about 6 percent less than in the
previous year, implying corn consumption of 1.193 billion
bushels during the quarter for ethanol and byproduct production.
[to top of second column]
"If consumption for other processing uses was near the 331 million
bushels implied by the USDA's projection of use for the year, total
processing uses of corn during the quarter were near 1.524 billion
bushels," Good said.
"If the USDA projection of year-ending old-crop inventories of
1.181 billion bushels is correct, implied feed and residual use
during the quarter was between 160 (million) and 165 million
bushels. That compares to implied use of 448 million bushels last
year and 495 million bushels in 2010. The implication is that at
least one-third of the crop harvested before Sept. 1 was used in
place of old-crop corn, mostly during the last half of August," he
A second issue associated with the early corn harvest is whether
respondents to the USDA's survey will correctly report old-crop
inventories. The USDA specifically asks respondents to report
inventories of corn harvested in 2011 or earlier years.
"For the most part, producers should have little difficulty
differentiating between new- and old-crop stocks stored on the
farm," Good said. "In some cases, however, commercial facilities
storing corn received in late August may not be able to
differentiate between old and new crop, but errors should be mostly
offsetting. Reporting errors, then, should be the result of
respondents who incorrectly report total inventories rather than
old-crop inventories only," he said.
According to Good, the Sept. 1 estimate of old-crop corn stocks
can have important price implications in some years, particularly
when stocks are relatively small and the new crop is also expected
to be small, like this year. This year, however, the market will
have some difficulty interpreting the stocks number as it will
reflect both the total magnitude of consumption during the quarter
and the degree of substitution of new-crop for old-crop corn in
August, without revealing the magnitude of either.
"That mystery will be at least partially solved with the Dec. 1
stocks estimate to be released in January 2013," Good said.
[Text from file received
from the University
of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental