US Says Drought Will Slash Corn, Soybean Production

Posted August 10th, 2012 at 12:00 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.S. is slashing the forecast for its world-leading corn and soybean crops as the nation's massive drought parches its farmlands.

Government agriculture officials Friday sharply cut this year's expectations for both crops as the country suffers through its worst drought in decades. Both crops are used in a wide variety of food and industrial products and exported throughout the world.

The government predicted U.S. corn production would total 10.8 billion bushels this year, down 17 percent from its forecast of a month ago, and off 13 percent from 2011. With heat-scorched fields throughout the country's central farm belt, the U.S. said the average yield-per-acre would be the lowest in 17 years.

Meanwhile, the government said soybean production will also drop, down from last month's estimates and 12 percent less than last year.

The U.S. mandates that part of its corn crop be used in the production of biofuels. But the head of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, Jose Graziano da Silva, called for “an immediate, temporary suspension” of the requirement. He said more of the American corn production could then be used as food or to feed livestock.