MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Profits are expected to remain steady for Minnesota corn and soybean farmers despite a slight production dip in 2017.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report estimates that the state's corn production will be 1.45 billion bushels, a 6 percent decrease from last year. Yields are expected to average about 190 bushels per acre, a decrease of three bushels from last year.

The department predicts the state's soybean production will be 373 million bushels, down 4 percent from last year. Yields are projected to be about 46 bushels per acre, six bushels below 2016 numbers.

Scattered production problems and hail damage have caused the slight declines, said Dale Nordquist, associate director of the Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota Extension.

He told The Star Tribune that weather this year wasn't as consistent across the state as it was last year, "but it's still a darn good crop."

A global surplus of grains means profits aren't significantly increasing, even with a healthy export market for corn and soybeans, said Ed Usset, a grain-marketing economist at the University of Minnesota.

"Farmers have had thin-to-negative margins over the last few years," Usset said. "This report confirms that we should expect more of the same in the year ahead, because there's just no quick fix out there right now."

While the harvest means there won't be significant profits for farmers, it will keep them in a good financial place, Nordquist said.

"What it does is it makes it possible for producers to stay afloat for another year in these challenging times," he said.

The state saw record-breaking corn and soybean harvests in 2015 and 2016. The state's 2016 corn crop value was about $5 billion and its 2016 soybean crop value was about $3.6 billion.


Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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