USDA projected a significant decline in U.S. rice yields, lower production for corn and soybeans and bearish stock numbers for cotton in its Oct. 12 Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Rice

U.S. rice production in 2011-12 is forecast at 186.9 million hundredweight, down 4 million from last month and the smallest crop since 1998-99. The decline is entirely due to a decrease in yield. Average yield is estimated at 7,123 pounds per acre, down 150 pounds from last month.

Harvested area is unchanged at 2.62 million acres. Long-grain production is forecast at 116.8 million hundredweight, 2.5 million below last month and the smallest crop since 1996-97. Combined medium- and short-grain production is still a record forecast at 70.1 million hundredweight, down 1.5 million from last month.

Total rice exports are projected at 91 million hundredweight, down 2 million from last month. The decrease is entirely in milled and brown rice. Total rice ending stocks are projected at 36.4 million hundredweight, down 1.9 million from last month.

World rice production is forecast at a record 461.4 million tons, up 3 million from last month due primarily to an increase in India’s crop, forecast at a record 100 million tons. Global ending stocks are projected at 101.4 million tons, up 2.8 million from last month, 3.6 million above 2010-11 and the largest stocks since 2002-03.

Cotton

Cotton production is forecast at 16.6 million bales, up slightly from last month but down 8 percent from last year. Yield is expected to average 809 pounds per harvested acre, down 3 pounds from last year. Upland cotton production is forecast at 15.9 million bales, down 10 percent from 2010. American Pima production is forecast at 737,200 bales.

Production was raised 52,000 bales, as increases for several states, especially Georgia, more than offset a decrease in estimated production for Texas. Domestic mill use is unchanged, but exports are reduced due to lower foreign import demand. Ending stocks are now forecast at 3.9 million bales.

World consumption was reduced nearly 850,000 bales, reflecting current sluggish demand and weaker forecasts for world economic growth. Forecast world ending stocks were raised nearly 3 million bales to a bearish 54.8 million. The world stocks-to-use ratio of 48 percent is marginally above the 5-year average.

Corn

U.S. corn production is forecast at 12.4 billion bushels, down 1 percent from September and down slightly from 2010. If realized, this will be the fourth largest production total on record. Based on conditions as of Oct. 1, yields are expected to average 148.1 bushels per acre. If realized, this will be the lowest average yield since 2005.

Global corn production was raised 5.4 million tons with foreign production increases more than offsetting the U.S. reduction. Production was raised 4 million tons for China to a record 182 million tons.

Global corn ending stocks are projected 5.8 million tons higher for 2011-12 mostly reflecting the larger U.S. beginning stocks. Despite the increase, 2011-12 world corn ending stocks would be the smallest since 2006-07.

Soybeans

Soybean production is forecast at 3.06 billion bushels, down 1 percent from September and down 8 percent from last year. Based on Oct. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 41.5 bushels per acre, down 0.3 bushel from last month and down 2 bushels from last year. If realized, the average yield will be the second lowest since 2003. Area for harvest is forecast at 73.7 million acres, down slightly from September and down 4 percent from 2010.

Forecast U.S. soybean exports for 2011-12 were reduced 40 million bushels to 1.375 billion reflecting the slow pace of export sales and strong early season export competition from South America. Soybean ending stocks are projected at 160 million bushels, down 5 million from last month.

Global soybean production is projected at 258.6 million tons, down 400,000 tons mainly due to the lower U.S. crop.

Wheat

Projected U.S. wheat ending stocks for 2011-12 were raised 76 million bushels as lower expected domestic use and exports more than offset reduced production.

Global wheat supplies for 2011-12 are projected 5.4 million tons higher with larger beginning stocks in Australia and higher production in Kazakhstan, Australia, EU-27, Canada, and South Africa. Global ending stocks were raised 7.8 million tons this month to 202.4 million. As projected, 2011-12 stocks would be a 10-year high.

Peanuts

Forecast peanut yields were raised 152 pounds from the previous month. By state, forecast yield was higher for Mississippi, 200 pounds, Florida, 400 pounds, Georgia, 50 pounds, North Carolina, 100 pounds and Virginia, 100 pounds.

Total production is estimated at 3.627 billion pounds, compared to 4.156 billion pounds in 2010.