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Corn inventory drops to eight-year low; futures prices jump

September 28, 2012|By Ricardo Lopez
  • Old corn stocks -- grain harvested last year -- totaled 988 million bushels, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said, the lowest level since 2004. Above, corn is unloaded from a combine into a truck during harvesting this week in Schodack Landing, N.Y.
Old corn stocks -- grain harvested last year -- totaled 988 million bushels,… (Mike Groll / Associated…)

The country's corn, soybean and wheat inventory fell steeply from last year, according to a report released Friday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In its latest grain survey, the agency reported that as of Sept. 1, old corn stocks -- grain harvested last year -- totaled 988 million bushels, a decline of 12% from the same time last year. That is the lowest level since 2004. 

Shortly after the survey was released, corn futures prices jumped by the 40-cent limit on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Friday, with delivery for December corn at $7.56 per bushel.

Prices were already high as the worst drought in decades has decimated the country's corn crop. In August, corn futures rose to a record high of $8.49 per bushel. But prices eased after the Midwest saw some rainfall.

Though more than half of the country's corn crop has been lost, this year's harvest yield is expected to be among the largest because farmers planted the most acreage of corn this spring since 1937.

The drought is expected to drive up food prices worldwide as the U.S. is the largest exporter of corn and soybeans. 

The agency also reported that other grain stocks had fallen. Soybean stocks were down 21% from last year, totaling 169 million bushels. Wheat stocks totaled 2.1 billion bushels, a 2% decline from last year.

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ricardo.lopez2@latimes.com

Follow Ricardo Lopez on Twitter.

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