The nation’s corn harvest will be about 0.5 percent smaller than the government forecast previously but global stockpiles of the grain are on the increase, removing some pressure from tight supplies after prices soared to records near $8 a bushel last spring.

Farmers will harvest an estimated 12.433 billion bushels of corn in 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its latest Crop Production report Oct. 12. That’s down 64 million bushels from the USDA’s projection a month ago and about 59 million bushels below the average analyst estimate in a Dow Jones Newswires survey.

Despite the smaller-than-expected crop, corn futures in Chicago fell, partly because the USDA, in a separate Oct. 12 report, said China will produce a bigger harvest, helping boost worldwide supplies next year nearly 5 percent above a previous estimate. The USDA also hiked projected 2012 U.S. stockpiles 29 percent.