The U.S. is predicting its smallest corn harvest in three years after a drought damaged what was being called a record crop as recently as July. Analysts are expecting production of 314.7 million metric tons, 27.4 million metric tons less than forecast four months ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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U.S. corn stockpiles may drop by 29% before the 2012 harvest in September, causing global stockpiles to reach a five-year low of 122.75 million metric tons, according to analysts. Corn futures have gained 4% to $6.54 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade in 2011. Prices rose 14% from 2011's low of $5.7225 on October 3, and futures are indicating rising prices through at least the middle of 2012.