USDA projects record feed grain production, lower corn prices

By Susanne Retka Schill | May 10, 2013

Slow planting progress and the likelihood that progress by mid-May will remain well behind the 10-year average reduced the USDA’s corn yield projections for the upcoming marketing year. The USDA adjusted its corn yield projection in the May 10 supply/demand report to 158.0 bushels per acres, down 5.6 bushels from earlier projections. Record feed grain production is still being projected, however, both domestically and in world supplies. As a result, the USDA’s first price projections for the new marketing year pegs the season-average farm price at $4.30 to $5.10 per bushel, down sharply from the record $6.70 to $7.10 for 2012-’13.

In the May 10 report, the USDA projects total feed grain supplies for 2013-’14 at a record 400.5 million tons, up 25 percent from last year with higher area and yields expected for corn, sorghum and oats. Corn production for 2013-’14 is projected at 14.1 billion bushels, up 3.4 billion from 2012-’13 when extreme drought and heat reduced yields to their lowest levels since 1995-’96.

U.S. corn exports are expected to rebound, but the USDA is expecting stiff competition, with projection for the fourth straight year of record foreign corn production. “Large crops in South America and the FSU-12 will provide substantial competition for the United States. U.S. corn ending stocks are projected at 2.0 billion bushels, up 1.2 billion from 2012-’13,” the report said.

U.S. corn supplies for 2013-’14 are projected at a record 14.9 billion bushels, up 3.0 billion from 2012-’13. U.S. corn use for 2013-’14 is projected up 16 percent from 2012-’13. Feed and residual use for 2013-’14 is projected up 925 million bushels reflecting a sharp rebound in residual disappearance with the record crop and an increase in feeding with lower corn prices.

Projected corn use for ethanol is increased 250 million bushels from this month’s higher projection for 2012-’13. Corn use for ethanol in 2013-’14 is projected at 4.85 billion bushels, up from the estimated 4.6 billion bushels for 2012-’13, but below the 2011-’12 use of 5.011 billion bushels. Lower corn prices and high prices for renewable identification numbers (RINS) support profitability for ethanol producers, the USDA commented in the report.

Global coarse grain supplies for 2013-’14 are projected at a record 1,407.6 million tons, up 113.8 million from 2012-’13. Global corn production for 2013-’14 is projected at a record 965.9 million tons. Foreign corn production is up 23.5 million tons. The largest increases are projected for the FSU-12, EU-27 and China, but large crops are again expected in 2013-’14 for Brazil and Argentina.

Global corn trade is projected higher with increased imports for China more than offsetting a reduction for EU-27. Spurred by lower prices, smaller year-to-year import increases are projected for a number of countries. Exports are lowered for Brazil, India and Argentina, but raised for Ukraine and EU-27. World corn consumption is projected at a record 936.7 million tons, up 72.8 million from 2012-’13 with foreign consumption up 41.5 million. Global corn ending stocks for 2013-’14 are projected up 29.2 million tons on the year. At 154.6 million tons, stocks would be a 13-year high.