Corn prices soared Friday to a record high after the U.S. government slashed its estimate of this year's harvest by nearly 17 percent to the lowest level since 1996.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture cited continuing "extreme heat and dryness" across the Plains and Corn Belt last month in cutting its forecast for an expected yield by 22.6 bushels per acre to 123.4 bushels. The USDA estimates this season's harvest at 10.779 billion bushels.

The Chicago Board of Trade December price for corn surged to $8.49 per bushel shortly after the report before falling rapidly back to $8.19 and then climbing to $8.25.