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Archive for Saturday, September 12, 1998

HARVEST FORECAST DEFLATES PRICES

September 12, 1998

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Kansas farmers still are expected to bring in a record corn bounty, but the government cut its estimate of the soybean crop.

Farm prices are likely to fall even further as harvest approaches because of forecasts for large corn, soybean and wheat crops amid stagnant exports, the Agriculture Department reported Friday.

In Kansas, farmers still are expected to harvest a record corn crop this fall, but the government cut its forecast for the size of the fall soybean crop.

The worst price slide is expected in soybeans, which many farmers planted as an alternative because they offered better income potential than other crops.

In its Kansas outlook made public Friday, Kansas Agricultural Statistics kept its statewide corn forecast at 407.6 million bushels, the same as it estimated a month ago. But it cut the estimate for the state's soybean crop by 5 million bushels, to 90 million bushels. That's still up 1 percent from a year ago.

Kansas harvested its record corn crop of 386.1 million bushels a year ago, so if the estimates are realized, this year's crop would eclipse it by 8 percent.

Eddie Wells, deputy state agricultural statistician, said field reports indicated farmers would harvest 2.85 million acres of corn with an average yield of 143 bushels per acre.

The grain sorghum production estimate also was unchanged for September, he said, remaining at an anticipated 264.1 million bushels. That's down 7 percent from a year ago. The sorghum yield is expected to average 77 bushels on 3.3 million acres being harvested.

But lower yields per acre on soybean acreage is cutting the estimate for that crop, Wells said. Farmers still are expected to harvest 2.5 million bushels of beans, but the average yield has been reduced to 36 bushels per acre from 38.

``Dry, hot conditions are the reason'' for lowering the expected average yield, Wells said. ``Soybeans need moisture, and many of the fields did not get it in August.''

The Agriculture Department predicts that this year's national record soybean harvest of 2.91 billion bushels, coupled with flat demand, will drop prices as low as $4.65 a bushel, compared with $6.45 last year.

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