Corn Crop Estimates Shrinking 'By The Hour'

Now remember, a lot of other foods are dependent on corn. The bulk of corn grown in the U.S. is consumed by livestock, poultry, and fish production. Approximately 12% of the U.S. corn crop ends up in foods that are either consumed directly or

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Now remember, a lot of other foods are dependent on corn. The bulk of corn grown in the U.S. is consumed by livestock, poultry, and fish production. Approximately 12% of the U.S. corn crop ends up in foods that are either consumed directly or indirectly, and has many industrial uses including ethanol. So this is not good news at all - and will most likely translate into much higher food costs. (Like milk and cheese.)

Good thing the administration has taken such bold moves to prevent further global warming, huh?

CHICAGO, July 17 (Reuters) - U.S. corn production has shrunk 7 percent versus the government's downgraded estimate a week ago, a Reuters poll found on Tuesday, with a worsening drought likely to cause more damage before the month is out.

As the worst drought since 1956 begins to expand to the northern and western Midwest, areas that had previously been spared, analysts are slashing corn yield estimates by the hour. Some analysts are also starting to cut their forecasts on the number of acres that will be harvested as farmers opt to plough under their fields to claim insurance.

What began the season as a potentially record corn crop as farmers planted the biggest area since 1937, may now be the smallest in at least five years. Soybeans, which enter their key pod-setting phase later then corn, are increasingly at risk. The poll of 13 analysts pegged the average estimated corn yield at 137.2 bushels per acre, down 6 percent from USDA's current forecast of 146 bushels.

The USDA dropped its yield estimate by an unprecedented 20 bushels per acre in its report on July 11. Corn production was pegged at 12.077 billion bushels, the smallest in 5 years, down 6.9 percent from USDA's outlook. "We're losing more yield with the additional stress now in the northern areas which up until now had been pretty good," said Shawn McCambridge, analyst for Jefferies Bache.

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