In its monthly report on world ag supply and demand, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided its first look at early expectations for the 2015 corn crop now being planted, with production down by just over a half-billion bushels and usage up slightly, compared to last year’s supply.

USDA projects farmers planting 89.2 million acres and harvesting 81.7 million acres, with an average yield of 166.8 bushels per acre and production of 13.6 billion bushels, down from 2014 corn production of 14.2 billion bushels. Total corn supply will be at a record 15.5 billion bushels, and corn utilization is projected at a record 13.8 billion bushels.

“These numbers for 2015 reflect the importance we are placing on building profitable demand for corn,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling. “They are still an early look at supply and demand, but with two record crops back-to-back and current stocks high, we’re committed to increasing the corn market here and abroad.”

In terms of corn prices, USDA estimate the average farm price for the current market year at $3.55 to $3.75 per bushel, and a broader range of $3.20 to $3.80 for the next market year, which begins Sept. 1.