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 last week’s monthly WASDE report, the USDA surprised most analysts by increasing corn yields from 154.4 to 155.3 bushels per acre despite an extremely dry August in several key corn-growing states. The 2013–2014 U.S. corn output is now estimated to come in at a record-high 13.84 billion bushels, 28.4 percent above last year’s drought-reduced crop.

Corn ending stocks for 2013–2014 were increased to an eight-year high of 1.86 billion bushels. Corn futures, which hit $5.15 per bushel in late August, closed at $4.50 on Friday.

The WASDE report was neutral for wheat prices. Wheat is tight in the U.S., but ample global supplies are weighing on prices. World production of wheat is forecasted to increase in 2013–2014, led by Canada, Europe and the Ukraine.

Wheat futures, at $6.28, are now at the bottom of a $6.28-$6.54 range over the past month. Prices are likely to slide lower unless export sales rebound.

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