USDA WASDE increases forecast for corn use in ethanol

By Erin Voegele | March 09, 2022

The USDA increased its forecast for 2021-’22 corn use in ethanol in its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, released March 9. The agency also increased its forecast for season-average corn prices.

The USDA currently predicts 5,350 billion bushels of corn will go to ethanol production in 2021-’22, up 25 million bushels from the forecast made in the February WASDE. An estimated 5.033 billion bushels of corn went to ethanol production in 2020-’21, up from 4.857 billion in 2019-’20.

The agency said the higher outlook for corn use in ethanol is based on data through January from its Grain Crushings and Co-Products production report and weekly ethanol production data as reported by the U.S. Energy Information Administration for the month of February.

The USDA also raised its forecast for corn exports by 75 million bushels, to 2.5 billion, reflecting expectations of sharply lower exports from Ukraine. The projected season average farm price is raised 20 cents to $5.65 per bushel.

Global coarse grain production for 2021-‘22 is forecast 1.5 million tons higher to 1.4989 billion. This month’s foreign coarse grain outlook is for larger production, lower trade, and greater ending stocks relative to last month. Foreign corn production is forecast modestly higher with increases for India and Russia that are partly offset by declines for Argentina and South Africa. India corn production is higher with increases to both area and yield. Argentina corn production is lowered as higher indicated area is more than offset by a reduction in yield. South Africa corn production is down reflecting lower yield prospects.

Corn exports are raised for the U.S. and India but reduced for Ukraine. Imports are lowered for Egypt, Algeria, Turkey, Israel, India, and Bangladesh. Foreign corn ending stocks are higher, mostly reflecting increases for Ukraine, India, and Russia that are partly offset by reductions for Argentina, South Africa, and Bangladesh. Global corn ending stocks, at 301.0 million tons, are down 1.3 million from last month.