Significant production declines in several key province and a lack of extremely high regional outputs will result in a Chinese crop of approximately 139 million metric tons (5.5 billion bushels), estimates Todd Meyer, U.S. Grains Council senior director in China. Meyer and Gary Clark of the Missouri Corn Growers Association and Missouri Corn Merchandising Council toured corn fields in the North China Plain and Northeast regions as part of the Council’s 2007 China Corn Tour. Those regions account for nearly 70 percent of China’s overall corn production.

“This is about 6.5 million tons (256 million bushels) below last year’s crop of 145.5 million tons ( 5.7 billion bushels),” said Meyer. “The expected increase in area in several provinces has helped to offset the drop in yield. We estimate the increase in area to be about 1 million hectares (2.47 million acres).”

He noted the China National Grain and Oils Information Centre (CNGOIC) has not changed their crop estimate of 149 million tons (5.8 billion bushels) since mid-spring.

“On the other hand, a private Chinese grain market information service, who traveled with us on the tour, has put the crop at 134 to 135 million tons (5.27 to 5.3 billion bushels) in their estimate released after our tour completed,” said Meyer. “I think 139 million tons is backed up by the data that we collected and general impressions that we heard from producers along the way.”

Kernel weights, which are not yet available, have a significant impact on yield estimates. Based on his observations made during the tour, Meyer believes kernel weights are likely to be low due to the heat, drought stress and a shorter than usual growing season.