Consumers could see some relief from higher food prices by late fall, if the latest government crop forecast holds up. The US Agriculture Department predicted today that corn production will total 14.8 billion bushels, with a record yield of 166 bushels per acre. That compares with 12.4 billion bushels a year ago.
A hot, dry summer could decrease those numbers, but if the prediction proves true, corn prices will fall and that likely will mean lower supermarket prices for products such as cereal and soft drinks sweetened with corn syrup. Beef and pork prices could fall, too, because producers would pay less to feed their animals. "This would set the trend for six months from now for prices to be cheaper," says an analyst with Northstar Commodity.