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.

Meanwhile, the 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%).
-- Wes Ishmael