USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (ARS) released its first estimate of the 2012-2013 corn-crop size and it's a big one.

The USDA is projecting record U.S. corn production of 14.79 billion bushels — up 1.7 billion bushels from the previous record of 13.09 billion bushels in 2009.

USDA is also projecting corn for ethanol use to be 5 billion bushels for the marketing year running from September 1, 2012 to August 31, 2013.

Evidence also shows corn planting is also well ahead of last year's pace:

— In the 18 states planting 92% of the nation's corn, 71% of the nation's corn had been planted. This compares to 32% last year and the five-year average of 47%. Thirty-two percent of the nation's corn had emerged, compared to 6% last year and 13% for the five-year average.

— In the 18 states planting 95% of the 2011 soybean acreage, 24% had been planted, which compares to 6% at this time last year and the five-year average of 11%. Seven percent of the crop emerged.

— In the 11 states planting 98% of the nation's sorghum crop, 29% was planted, which is just ahead of the one-year and five-year average of 25%.

— In the 18 states planting 88% of the the winter wheat, 63% had headed by Monday, which compares to 39% last year and 34% for the five-year average.

Speaking of the historic projection for his year's corn crop, Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper provided some context:

At 14.79 billion bushels, the 2012 corn crop would:
•    be a record crop by far, beating the 2009 crop of 13.09 billion bushels by 11%.
•    be 65% larger than the crop from 10 years ago (8.97 billion bushels in 2002).
•    be more than twice as large as the average-sized annual corn crop in the decade of the 1980s (7.15 billion bushels on average).

The 2012 projected yield of 166 bushels per acre would:
•    be a record yield, beating out the 2009 average yield of 164.7 bushels per acre.
•    be only the third time in history yields have topped 160 bu/acre, the others being 2009 (164.7) and 2004 (160.4).
•    be 35% higher than the average yield from the 1990s and 12% higher than the average yield since 2000.

2012/13 projected carry-out of 1.88 billion bushels would:
•    be more than double the 2011/12 carry-out of 851 billion bushels.
•    be the highest level of carry-out in seven years (2005/06 carry-out was 1.97 billion bushels).
•    be the fourth-largest carry-out in the last 20 years.
•    be 26% larger than the average carry-out since 2000.