ST. LOUIS -

The federal government says U.S. corn growers could end up with their lowest average yield in 17 years as the drought continues to take its toll.

The U.S. Agriculture Department is slashing its projected U.S. corn production to 10.8 billion bushels. That's down from its forecast last month of close to 13 billion bushels and 13 percent lower than last year. That also would be the lowest production since 2006.

The USDA said it expects corn growers to average 123.4 bushels per acre, down 24 bushels from last year. That would be the lowest average yield since 1995.

Soybean production is now forecast at 2.69 billion bushels, a 12 percent decline from last year. Expected yields on average of 36.1 bushels per acre would be the lowest since 2003.