ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- USDA economists surprised the grain trade yesterday with some bigger numbers that most in the industry were expecting. In the September Crop production and World Supply and Demand estimates report, those economists figure this year's corn crop will total 14.18 billion bushels on average yields of 169.9 bushels per acre. That would be up 31 million bushels from the August report but 6% less than last year's corn crop, but still the third biggest crop ever. Yesterday's report also lowered corn demand by 50 million bushels-raising domestic ending stocks to over 2.335 billion bushels, the highest in 12 years. Those numbers are expected to mean an average corn price for the year between $2.80 and $3.60 a bushel. The soybean crop will also be a big one this fall-the largest ever in this country. Yesterday's estimates peg that crop at 4.431 billion bushels on average yields of 49.9 bushels per acre. But with demand matching supply, ending U.S. stocks remained the same at 475 million bushels. But the average soybean price was lowered by a dime to $9.20.
In Wisconsin that report now estimates our corn crop will yield 494 million bushels on yields of 162 bushels per acre-unchanged from last month's report but down 16 bushels an acre from last year. The Wisconsin soybean crop will be a little smaller this year according to yesterday's numbers. Total yield is now put at 103 million bushels, down over 4 and a half million from last year as per acre yields are pegged at 48 bushels-down 7 from last year. But we set a new record for planted soybean acres this year-reaching 2.15 million-up 190,000 from 2016. The next USDA Crop Production report will come out October 12th.
For state farmers growing those crops on rented land, the costs went up slightly for this growing season. Average cash rents across the state for non-irrigated land reached $133 an acre-a jump of $2 from 2016. The highest cash rents in the state are in Lafayette County at $233 an acre followed by Dodge County at $199. Columbia, Grant and Walworth counties round out the top 5. Pasture rents this year are averaging $40 an acre-up $5 from 2016 with the highest pasture rent in Ozaukee County at $82 an acre. In Northwest Wisconsin, the highest rental rate for crop land is in Chippewa county where rents are averaging $117 an acre. In West Central Wisconsin, farmers in Pierce and LaCrosse counties are paying $152 an acre, in Pepin County, they're paying $144 an acre while farmers in Monroe County are paying $130 an acre.
Wisconsin electric cooperatives are doing their part to help Florida recover from Hurricane Irma. About 50 volunteer electric linemen should reach Florida today to help restore power. The Wisconsin crews will be assigned to help Clay County Cooperative near Gainesville in northern Florida. A second group of 24 volunteers is on standby to relieve the first group if needed. The volunteers took about 40 trucks and other pieces of equipment with them from their local shops.