2022-’23 corn use in ethanol forecast at 5.375 billion bushels

By Erin Voegele | May 12, 2022

The USDA predicts that 2022-’23 corn use in ethanol will be flat with 2021-’22 in its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, released May 12. Corn production is expected to be down, with prices up significantly.  

According to the USDA, the 2022-’23 U.S. corn outlook is for lower production, domestic use, exports, ending stocks and higher prices.

The corn crop is currently projected at 15.5 billion bushels, down 4.3 percent when compared to last year. The corn yield is projected at 177 bushels per acre, 4 bushels below the weather adjusted trend presented at USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum in February. The agency said that the very slow start to this year’s planting in the major corn producing states and the likelihood that progress by mid-May will remain well behind normal has reduced yield prospects. Despite beginning stocks that are up relative a year ago, total corn supplies are expected to decline 2.7 percent to 15.9 billion bushels.

Total U.S. corn use in 2022-’23 is expected to fall 2.5 percent on declines in domestic use and exports. Food, seed and industrial use is virtually unchanged at 6.8 billion bushels. Corn feed and residual use is expected to be down 4.9 percent relative to a year ago, reflecting a smaller crop, higher expected season-average farm prices received by producers, and a decline in grain consuming animal units.

Corn used for ethanol is unchanged relative to a year ago on expectations of flat U.S. motor gasoline consumption. The USDA currently expects 5.375 billion bushels of corn to go to ethanol production in 2022-’23, flat with 2021-’22, but up from 5.033 billion bushels in 2020-’21.

U.S. corn exports are expected to decline 4 percent in 2022-’23 as lower supplies and robust domestic demand limit prospects. Even with record exports projected for Argentina and Brazil, a 550-million-bushel drop in exports for Ukraine to the ongoing conflict is the primary catalyst for a decline in world trade, according to USDA. With expectations of robust global demand in the face of high prices, the U.S. share of global corn trade is up slightly relative to a year ago.

With total U.S. corn supply falling more than use, 2022-’23 U.S. ending stocks are down 80 million bushels from last year. Stocks relative to use at 9.3 percent would be below a year ago and lower than the 14.4 percent average seen during 2015-’16 to 2019-’20. The season-average corn price received by producers is projected at $$6.75 per bushel, up 85 cents from a year ago and if realized the highest since $6.89 reached during 2012-’13.

World corn production is forecast to decline from last year’s record high, mostly reflecting reductions for Ukraine, the United States, the EU, and China that are partially offset by increases for Brazil, Argentina, Serbia, and South Africa. World corn use is expected to decline 1.2 percent, with foreign consumption down 0.9 percent. World corn imports are projected to fall 2.3 percent, with the largest year-over-year declines for China, Canada, the EU, Brazil, and the United Kingdom. Notable increases in corn imports include Vietnam, Iran, and Bangladesh. Global corn ending stocks are down 1.4 percent to 305.1 million tons, mostly reflecting expected declines for China and the United States that are partially offset by increases for Brazil, Serbia, and Ukraine.