In this weekly Commodities Watch column, John T. Barone, president and commodities analyst for Market Vision Inc., offers a snapshot of the state of commodities for restaurants.

It has now been two weeks with no USDA data since the U.S. government furloughed nonessential employees and shut down many services on Oct. 1.

In lieu of Friday’s cancelled October WASDE report from the USDA, here’s what private analysts are saying: The average analyst surveyed by Bloomberg expected the USDA to raise corn yields from 155.3 to 156.5 bushels per acre, further confirming a record large harvest this year of at least 30 percent larger than last year’s drought-reduced crop. Last week, corn futures prices fell from $4.49 to $4.33 per bushel, a 43-percent decline from $7.53 a year ago. Rumors that the EPA will reduce the ethanol mandate are also adding a bearish tone to corn prices.

The Energy Information Administration also shut down this past Friday, so government energy reports and prices are now blacked out. That includes the EIA’s on-highway diesel prices, on which many distribution contracts and surcharges are based.

Contact John T. Barone at jbarone@mktvsn.com.