The U.S. Grains Council has released the numbers from the 2007 China Corn Tour. The estimate they have put on the crop is 139 million tons versus last year's 145.5 million tons. The main cause for that drop is the severe drought seen in the northeastern provinces.
Todd Meyer, Senior Director for USGC in China, says that while there is a lot of room for error in their estimates, they do the best they can based on what they see, discussions with producers, traders and government officials, and some other reporting agencies.
"We do feel quite strongly there will be a drop in the output this year," Meyer says.
The Northern Plains of China had mixed results, with only a slight drop in production and an increase in area planted, but it was not enough to counteract the situation in the Northeast.
The Chinese government has not adjusted its crop estimate of 149 million tons since the spring, but Meyer says USGC's numbers are closer to accurate.
"A private Chinese grain market information service, which traveled with us on the tour, has put the crop at 134 to 135 million tons 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.”
Meyer says that while numbers are down, they are by no means the worst numbers seen in China in recent years. He says 2000 and 2001 were particularly bad years, with many farmers having to replant multiple times and even then barely making a crop.