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.

In Friday’s WASDE report, the USDA discounted the effects of delayed planting this season and forecast the 2012–2013 corn crop to come in at 14.14 billion bushels, 31 percent above last year’s drought-reduced crop.

The USDA also released its first forecasts for 2014, with the biggest change coming in corn prices. The report says corn prices will fall 32 percent to $4.70 per bushel, on average, in crop year 2013–2014.

Sharply lower corn and soybean meal prices are expected to spur higher poultry production. USDA projects broiler prices, which will jump 8 percent to $102.00 per hundredweight (cwt) in 2013, to drop 10 percent to $92.00/cwt in 2014.

Conversely, beef prices keep going up. Choice steer prices are forecast to rise 4.6 percent to $128.50/cwt in 2013 and jump another 3.5 percent to 133.00/cwt in 2014. The USDA is forecasting dairy prices to drop roughly 3 percent in 2014, reversing the price gains of 2013.

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