The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today slashed its forecast for corn production this year by about 17 percent as drought conditions worsened in key growing regions, MarketWatch reported. Farmers are now expected to produce about 10.8 billion bushels of corn this year, the USDA said in its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. That's a sharp drop from the 12.97 billion bushels the agency predicted a month ago, and the reduction exceeded the expectations of some traders and analysts. The new forecast puts U.S. corn production at its lowest since 2006, the USDA said. USDA's new estimate for average corn yield is 123.4 bushels per acre and that would put it at the lowest level in 17 years. Last month, the USDA was predicting the average corn yield at 146 bushels per acre.