The trend has been up for a long time, and yesterday's much-awaited Crop Production and Grain Stocks reports did nothing to cool the feed-cost fire.

According to USDA, 2010 corn production totaled 12.4 billion bushels, down 5 percent from the record high in 2009. The yield estimate was 152.8 bushels per acre, 11.9 bushels (7 percent) below 2009's record. Planted area turned out to be 88.2 million acres, second largest since 1946. Largest corn acreage was 93.5 million in 2007.

The 2010 soybean crop totaled 3.33 billion bushels, down 1 percent from 2009's record. Bean yields averaged 43.5 bushels, 0.5 bushel less than last year. Bean acreage, at 77.4 million, fell just slightly from the year before.

Corn stored in all positions (December 1) totaled 10.0 billion bushels. That was down 8 percent from December 1, 2009. Of the total stocks, 6.3 billion bushels were stored on farms, down 15 percent from the year before. Off-farm stocks, at 3.74 billion bushels, were up 7 percent from a year earlier.

The domestic ending stocks-to-use-ratio of 4.2 percent fell to its tightest level on record, according to a DTN report. Globally, the figure dropped to 22.8 percent.

Market reaction is the most important thing to those buying feed for their herds. Yesterday, March corn closed 24 cents higher at the CBOT ending at $6.31 and, May also rose 24 cents, closing at $6.39.

January soybeans jumped 58 cents a bushels at the CBOT closing at $14.09. January soybean meal shot up $18 a ton to $377.

Over at the CME, movements in Class III futures were mixed yesterday. January gained 6 cents to $13.52, but February and March dropped 5 and 9 cents to end up at $14.87 and $14.93. We viewed this steadiness in the market as good news after the cheese market and Class IIIs caught fire on Tuesday. That's when blocks and barrels both shot up 7-1/2 cents, and Class III futures for February soared 53 cents to $14.92 and March climbed 42 cents to $15.02.