A clash of the crop forecasters saw upbeat corn and soybean crop estimates from Informa Economics trump downbeat figures from rival Lanworth to send prices lower.
Lanworth on Friday pegged the yield of the drought-hit US corn yield at 120.2 bushels per acre, below the US Department of Agriculture forecast of 122.8 bushels per acre.
Coupled with a forecast for extra abandonment, thanks to the impact of the worst US drought since 1956, Lanworth estimated the total US crop at 10.395bn bushels – more than 300m bushels short of the official figure, and so in theory supportive for prices.
The analysis group, whose work relies to a large extent on translating clues in satellite photos, was downbeat on the soybean crop too, pegging it at 2.735m bushels, 40m bushels fewer than the USDA number.
However, any boost the data gave prices, with Chicago soybeans for November hitting a high of $15.69 ½ a bushel soon thereafter, was undermined minutes later when Informa Economics came in with crop numbers above those released by farm officials.
Informa put the corn yield of 127.0 bushels per acre, a figure which, while well below market hopes above 160 bushels per acre before drought hit, lifted the crop to 11.194bn bushels.
For soybeans, Informa pegged production at 2.86m bushels, on a yield of 37.8 bushels per acre.
The initial market reaction was to nearly eradicate gains in soybean futures, while corn hit an intraday low of $7.46 ¼ a bushel, a loss of 1.4%.
The data come ahead of the USDA's release on October 11 of its next monthly Wasde crop report, which is widely expected to raise forecasts for the US soybean crop, following better-than-expected harvest results.
Broker RJ O'Brien has flagged an "ongoing bombardment of mostly 40+ bushels-per-acre yield reports that support growing view that USDA may be understating the 2012 US soybean yield by 3.5-5 bushels per acre".
However, the figures for the corn harvest are in greater dispute, with some analysts believing a late revival in harvest results, from the likes of Minnesota and North Dakota, will foster a yield upgrade.
Forecasts are further complicated by ideas that the USDA may allow for greater crop abandonment, but with spring sowings potentially higher than had been thought.
Lanworth estimated that 86.5m acres will make it to harvest, 900,000 acres fewer than the USDA is currently factoring in.
Allendale forecasts ...
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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