February WASDE increases forecast for corn use in ethanol

By Lisa Gibson | February 12, 2020

The USDA increased its 2019-’20 forecast for corn use in ethanol production by 50 million bushels, to 5.425 billion, in its latest World Agricultural Supply & Demand Estimates report, released Feb. 11.

The increase is based on Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production data through December and the robust pace of weekly ethanol production data as reported by the Energy Information Administration during the month of January, according to the WASDE report. The predicted 5.425 billion bushels is higher than the 2018-’19 estimate of 5.376 billion, but lower than the 2017-’18 total of 5.605 billion.

Corn exports in the February report are down 50 million bushels from January. With no other use changes, U.S. corn ending stocks are unchanged from January. The season average corn price received by producers is also unchanged at $3.85 per bushel.


The February WASDE report also shows unchanged predictions for beginning stocks, production, and ending stocks, with slightly higher predictions for feed, seed and industrial. Export predictions are slightly lower than predictions in January.

Beginning stocks remain at 2.221 billion bushels, production remains at 13.692 billion and ending stocks at 1.892 billion. Ethanol and byproducts are up to 50 million bushels to 5.425 billion bushels, and exports are down 50 million bushels to 1.725 billion.

Feed, seed and industrial use was boosted 50 million bushels from January’s prediction, to 6.82 billion bushels.

Global corn production is raised 0.8 million tons, with increases for South Africa, Moldova and Ukraine more than offsetting a reduction for Vietnam. For South Africa, production is higher as timely rainfall during the month of January improves yield prospects.

Major global trade changes for 2019-‘20 include higher projected corn exports for South Africa, Ukraine, and the EU, with a largely offsetting reduction for the U.S., the report says. Corn imports are raised for Turkey and Brazil, with the latter reflecting larger-than-expected shipments to livestock production areas in the southern part of the country. Foreign corn ending stocks are down from last month, mostly reflecting reductions for Vietnam, Brazil, Paraguay and the EU. Global corn ending stocks, at 296.8 million tons, are down 1 million from last month.