– Corn production in the United States, the world’s top grower and shipper, will be largest ever this year while stronger exports will contribute to smaller-than-expected inventories next year.

Farmers will collect a record 13.989 billion bushels, up from 13.843 billion estimated in September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday in a report. The average projection of 36 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was 14.029 billion, up from 10.78 billion in 2012. The USDA report is its first in two months, after canceling the October assessment during a partial government shutdown.

Reserves on Aug. 31, 2014, before next year’s harvest, will be 1.887 billion bushels, up from 1.855 billion forecast in September, the USDA reported. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg projected 2.044 billion, on average.

Export expectations were raised 14 percent to 1.4 billion bushels, as lower prices for the grain are making U.S. corn more competitive abroad, the USDA said.

Average yields this year will be 160.4 bushels per acre, compared with 155.3 bushels estimated two months ago and 123.4 bushels in 2012, the agency said after completing its third survey of farmers and fields this season. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg projected 159.2 bushels, on average.

Corn for grain is the top agricultural crop in Minnesota followed by soybeans. According to a 2011 report by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, approximately 45 percent of Minnesota’s crop production was corn, followed by soybeans at 33 percent and sugar beets at 7 percent. In 2011, Minnesota produced $7 billion worth of corn and $3.1 billion worth of soybeans.

A big week by Minnesota farmers pushed their corn crop slightly ahead of the normal five-year harvest average.

According to the Minnesota field office of the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service, as of Nov. 3, 73 percent of Minnesota corn for grain had been harvested; the five-year average is 72 percent. During the week Minnesota farmers harvested 25 percent of their corn.

By this time last year, 100 percent of corn in Minnesota had been harvested.

World output in the year that begins Oct. 1 will be 962.83 million tons, compared with 956.67 million forecast two months earlier, the USDA said. Global inventories before Northern Hemisphere harvests begin in 2014 will be 164.33 million tons; 151.42 million was projected in September.


Staff writer Patrick Kennedy contributed to this report.