Economist: Corn exports in all forms down in marketing year

By Susanne Retka Schill | May 09, 2016

Corn exports may end up higher than current USDA projections, but will still be well below last year’s exports, writes University of Illinois ag economist Darrel Good in his weekly outlook column “Export Progress for Corn, Ethanol and Distillers’ Grains.” But, he notes, the U.S. also exports corn in the form of livestock and corn products, namely ethanol and distillers grains, that are showing mixed results so far in this marketing year.

In his review of exports, Good cites Census Bureau data showing 520 million gallons of ethanol were exported during the first seven months of the 2015-’16 marketing year (Sept. 1 to Aug. 31), “accounting for about six percent of total domestic ethanol production.” That actually is down slightly from the same period a year ago. On top of that, Good points out, sorghum is back in the mix as an ethanol feedstock this year, though the data showing the exact amount is unavailable.  Distillers grains exports for the seven-month period are estimated at 7.14 million tons, up about 1 million tons from the same period a year ago.

“Corn exports in all forms during the 2015-’16 marketing year will be less than exports during the previous year, with the largest decline in the form of whole corn,” Good concludes. “Corn exported as ethanol may be down slightly while corn exported as distillers' grains will be larger. Estimates of the amount of corn exported in the form of livestock have not been made, but red meat and poultry exports are increasing from the relatively low level of 2015. Corn exports may exceed the current USDA projection, but the decline from exports of a year ago contributes to prospects for ample year-ending stocks and the continuation of relatively low corn prices.”

For the full outlook, with more specifics on importing countries and other analysis click here.