Corn producers have done it again, producing a near-record corn crop, but that doesn't mean prices won't be inching up.

According to last week's "Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook Report" from the Economic Research Service (ERS), the 2006-2007 corn price is expected to average $2.15/bu. to $2.55/bu., up from $1.99/bu. for 2005-2006; it was $2.06/bu. two years ago.

Besides increasing demand, growing price has something to do with decreased global production. ERS analysts note both global coarse grain production and global coarse grain ending stock estimates have been lowered -- reduced production in the European Union, former Soviet Union, Canada and Australia.

For that matter, last week's report also lowers domestic ending corn stocks to 1.22 billion bu.

Soybean meal production is projected at 42,035 thousand short tons, up 2.5% from last year and up 3% from 2004/05. Soybean meal prices are expected to average $147.50 to $177.50 per short ton, down from $173.50 in 2005/06 and $182.89 in 2004/05.

For the week ending Sept. 17, according to National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS):

  • Corn -- 96% is at or beyond the Dent Stage, compared to 97% last year and 90% for the five-year average. Maturation is at 52%, 2% behind last year, but 3% ahead of normal. 9% is harvested, which is 1% behind last year and the five-year average. 61% is rated Good or better, compared to 52% last year.
  • Soybeans -- 48% of the acreage was at or beyond dropping leaves, 12% behind last year and 1% behind the average. Growers have harvested 6% of the crop, compared to 7% at this time last year and 5% for the average. 61% is rated Good or better; 53% was at the same time last year.
  • Winter wheat -- 19% of the crop is sown, 5% less than the same time last year and 4% less than average. Planting was behind in most states, delayed by either soggy field conditions or lack of soil moisture.
  • Sorghum -- 81% was at or beyond turning color, the same as last year and the norm. 45% is mature, compared to 42% last year and 47% for average. 33% is rated Good or better, compared to 48% last year.
  • Pasture -- 27% is rated Good or Excellent, compared to 30% last year. 23% is rated Poor and 22% is ranked Very Poor, compared to 23% and 14% respectively at the same time last year.

States with the worst pasture conditions -- at least 40% of the acreage rated poor or worse -- include: Alabama (66%); Arizona (53%); Arkansas (46%); California (72%); Kansas (42%); Mississippi (60%); Missouri (59%); Montana (48%); Nebraska (53%); Nevada (60%); North Dakota (62%); Oklahoma (65%); Oregon (54%); South Dakota (50%); Texas (75%); and Wyoming (68%).

States with the lushest pasture conditions -- at least 40% rated good or better -- include: Florida (65%); Illinois (52%); Indiana (65%); Iowa (68%); Kentucky (66%); Maine (83%); Michigan (55%); New Mexico (67%); New York (62%); North Carolina (58%); Ohio (64%); Pennsylvania (50%); South Carolina (52%); Virginia (41%); Washington (41%); West Virginia (59%); and Wisconsin (56%).