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Forming Expectations for the 2016 U.S. Average Corn Yield: What About El Niño?


There continues to be a lot of discussion about the likely magnitude of U.S. corn production in 2016, with much of current focus on planted acreage. Low commodity prices, along with the 2.8 million acre reduction in winter wheat seedings and the likelihood that there will be fewer prevented plantings in 2016, create uncertainty about the likely magnitude of total acreage of spring planted crops, as well as uncertainty about the acreage of individual crops. For the most part, current expectations are that total planted acreage may decline from that of 2015, but that corn acreage will increase. The Grains and Oilseeds Outlook at last week’s USDA Outlook Forum, for example, projected plantings of the 8 major crops would decline by 5.5 million acres (2.2 percent) in 2016/17, but that corn acreage would increase by two million acres (2.3 percent) to a total of 90 million acres. The USDA will release the results of its March survey of 2016 planting intentions in the Prospective Plantings report to be released on March 31.

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