WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. rice crop was raised 1.1 million cwt to 188.1 million cwt based on a higher yield forecast, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) most recent Rice Outlook.

At 7,114 pounds per acre, the average field yield is up 55 pounds from July’s forecast and 6% above a year earlier. Despite the upward revision, the crop is 23% smaller than a year earlier, with production projected smaller in all Southern States.

In contrast, the 2011-12 import forecast was lowered 1 million cwt to 18 million.

Beginning stocks were raised fractionally to 51.1 million cwt. On balance, the total supply forecast was raised slightly to 257.2 million cwt.

On the use side, 2011-12 exports were lowered 3 million cwt to 97 million, with medium- and short-grain rice accounting for all of the downward revision. While total domestic and residual use remains forecast at 127 million cwt, there was a 2-million cwt shift from long-grain domestic use to medium- short-grain rice domestic use. These revisions resulted in a 3.6-million cwt increase in the ending stocks forecast to 33.2 million cwt, still down 35% from a year earlier.

This month, the U.S. season-average farm price for medium- and short-grain rice was lowered $1.50 on both the high and low ends to $14.50-$15.50 based on expectations of much stronger competition from Egypt in North Africa and the Middle East. In contrast, the long-grain SAFP was raised 70¢ on both the high and low ends to $12.70-$13.70 based on expectations of higher world prices.

The 2011-12 global rice production forecast was fractionally lowered this month to 456.3 million tonnes — still a record, with upward revisions for Egypt and the U.S. nearly offsetting reductions for Indonesia and the Koreas. Global disappearance in 2011-12 is projected at a record 455.2 million tonnes, down 1.1 million tonnes from last month’s forecast.

Global ending stocks for 2011-12 are projected at 97.9 million tonnes, up 1.7 million tonnes from last month and 1 percent larger than a year earlier. This is the fifth consecutive year of increasing global stocks.