Corn production this year is 8% higher than a year ago (13 billion bu.), and only 0.2% less than 2007’s record crop, according to USDA’s most recent “Crop Production” report. Corn yield is expected to average 164.2 bu./acre, 10.3 bu. above last year. If realized, this yield will be the highest on record.

According to the most recent “World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates” (WASDE), corn ending stocks for 2009-10 are projected 37 million bu. higher and just below the revised estimate for the 2008-09 marketing year. The 2009-10 marketing-year average farm price projection is unchanged at $3.05-$3.65/bu.

Soybean production remains on target for a record-high year, forecast at 3.25 billion bu. by USDA, 10% more than 2008. Based on Oct. 1 conditions, soybean yields are expected to average 42.4 bu./acre, 2.7% more than 2008. If realized, this will be the third-highest yield on record. Growers are expected to harvest 76.6 million acres of soybeans, which is the largest area on record.

WASDE projects soybean and soybean meal prices lower for 2009-10. The U.S. season-average soybean price range is projected at $8-$10/bu., down 10¢ on both ends of the range. The soybean meal price is projected at $245-$305/short ton, down $5 on both ends of the range. The soybean oil price range is projected at 32-36¢/lb., unchanged from last month.

For the week ending Oct. 10, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service:

Corn – 74% of the acreage has reached maturity, 10% behind last year and 18% behind the five-year average. Crop development to maturity was behind normal in all estimating states except North Carolina where maturity was complete. 13% is harvested, 7% less than a year ago and 22% behind average – more than two weeks. Harvest was slow throughout much of the Corn Belt as cool temperatures and continued rainfall kept moisture levels in mature corn higher than normal. 70% is reported Good to Excellent, 8% more than a year ago.

Soybeans – Leaf drop had occurred on 89% of the nation’s acreage, 1% behind last year and 5% behind average. The most significant delays remained in Mississippi where leaf drop was more than three weeks behind normal. 23% has been harvested, 26% behind last year and 34% behind average. Harvest delays of 16 points or more were evident in all estimating states except Kansas and North Carolina where progress was 7 points and 1 point behind normal, respectively. 65% is rated as Good to Excellent, which is 2% more than at the same time last year. Soybean stands in the Delta states of Arkansas and Mississippi continued to deteriorate as most fields remained saturated.

Winter wheat – 64% has been seeded, which is 5 points behind last year and the average. Despite a rapid seeding pace in Ohio during the week, overall progress fell to 14 points behind normal. Elsewhere, significant delays were evident in the eastern Corn Belt and Missouri where winter wheat will be seeded after the late harvest of double-cropped soybeans. 39% has emerged, 3% behind last year, and 1% behind normal.

Sorghum – Sorghum coloring has reached 93% complete, 1% ahead of last year, but 3 points behind the five-year average. 64% has reached maturity, 2% behind last year and 12% behind the average. Despite active crop development to maturity in Illinois and Nebraska, overall delays of 20 points or more remained. 37% is in the bin, 6% less than last year and 12% less than average. The harvest pace remained slow in Texas as producers waited for the crop in the High Plains to fully mature. 48% is rated Good to Excellent, 7% less than the same time a year ago.

Pasture – 48% of the nation’s pasture and range is still rated as Good or Excellent this fall, 10% more than at the same time last year. 22% is rated Poor or Very Poor, compared to 30% a year ago.

States with the worst pasture conditions – at least 40% of the acreage rated Poor or worse – include: Arizona (69%); California (90%); Montana (48%); New Mexico (42%); and Oregon (54%).

The lushest conditions – at least 40% rated Good or better – exist in: Alabama (75%); Arkansas (68%); Colorado (54%); Florida (70%); Georgia (59%); Idaho (50%); Illinois (69%); Indiana (58%); Iowa (58%); Kansas (65%); Kentucky (80%); Louisiana (44%); Maine (56%); Maryland (67%); Michigan (46%); Minnesota (41%); Mississippi (52%); Missouri (76%); Nebraska (70%); New York (50%); North Carolina (62%); North Dakota (54%); Ohio (60%); Oklahoma (57%); Pennsylvania (59%); South Carolina (48%); South Dakota (61%); Tennessee (79%); Utah (47%); Virginia (44%); West Virginia (43%); and Wyoming (49%).