Fundamentally Speaking

Potential USDA Ag Outlook 2016 Yields

By Joel Karlin , DTN Contributing Analyst

Market action is fairly quiet; not sure Wednesday's monthly supply-demand report will change that.

There will be a slew of government reports issued January 12 including the final 2015 U.S. corn and soybean production, the monthly supply-demand report, the quarterly grain stocks numbers as of December 1, and the first estimate of 2016 U.S. winter wheat seedings.

After this, the next set of figures from the USDA that will be of any influence will be at their annual agricultural outlook conference in February.

At that time the initial USDA forecast of the 2016/17 balance sheets for the major crops will be furnished.

Although these numbers are highly tentative, based mostly on computer projections, there is quite a bit of interest among the trade as to what the USDA is thinking in this regard.

The accompanying chart shows the first USDA yield estimates for U.S. corn, soybeans and wheat given at the Ag Outlook forums from 1999 to 2015.

To each there is a trend-line attached with the projected 2016 trend calculated for each in bushels per acre (bpa) that are listed in the box within the graphic.

The 2016 trend corn yield is 172.0 bpa and that is above the year ago 166.8 bpa figure though below the last 2015 estimate issued in November at 169.3 bpa.

The trend soybean yield is 45.5 bpa and that is down from the 2014 Ag Outlook yield of 46.0 bpa and well below the actual 2015 yield last projected at 48.3 bpa.

For wheat, the projected yield of 45.6 bpa is above the 2014 Ag Outlook projection of 45.2 bpa though quite a bit higher than the final 2014 all wheat yield of 43.6 bpa.

We also looked at how the USDA Ag Outlook forecasts compared to actual yields for the period 1999-2015 and found the USDA Outlook corn yield forecast has averaged 1.2% below the actual final yields, the Ag Outlook soybean yield forecast averaging 1.0% below final soybean yields and the Ag Outlook wheat yield estimate actually 0.2% above the actual final yields.

(KA)

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