Monday morning’s USDA reports held mixed news for the corn and soybean markets as USDA revised its estimates of both crops downward slightly, but also cut projected usage further.

USDA pegged U.S. corn production at 12.020 billion bushels, down 13 million bushels from its previous estimate and 55 million bushels below the average of pre-report trade estimates.

USDA pegged the U.S. national average corn yield at 153.8 bu./acre vs. its October estimate of 153.9 bu. Trade estimates of the national yield averaged 154.4 bu./acre.

USDA pegged U.S. soybean production at 2.921 billion bushels, down 17 million bushels from its previous estimate and nearly right on the average of trade estimates, which was 2.919 billion bushels.

USDA put the national average soybean yield at 39.3 bu./acre, down from its previous estimate of 39.5 bu. and just fractionally above the average of trade estimates.

USDA’s monthly supply/demand update boosted U.S. 2008-2009 corn ending stocks by 36 million bushels to 1.124 billion bushels, despite the lower production estimate as the agency cut projected exports by another 50 million bushels, reflecting the continued slow pace of U.S. corn export sales and shipments.

However, USDA’s new corn stocks estimate was toward the low end of trade stocks estimates, which averaged 1.190 billion bushels.

USDA’s estimate of U.S. soybean ending stocks was unchanged at 205 million bushels as the cut in expected production was offset by a further 15-million-bushel cut in the projected crush and a small decrease in residual usage.

USDA’s ending stocks figure was 11 million bushels above the average of trade stocks estimates.

Both corn and soybean futures may take more direction today from action in other markets and economic news than from the USDA reports.

The big news on the economic front is the announcement of a major economic stimulus package by China’s government. That news helped send corn and soybean futures sharply higher in overnight electronic trade.

Traders at the Chicago Board of Trade early Monday morning were calling corn futures to open 8-10¢ higher and soybean futures to open 25-30¢ higher.

Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.