The United States Department of Agriculture is calling for lower stockpiles of U.S. corn, soybeans and wheat for 2018-19. The USDA released its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report on May 10. This report presents the agency’s first assessment of U.S. and world crop supply and demand prospects and U.S. prices for 2018/19.
The U.S. feed-grain outlook for 2018/19 is for lower production, domestic use, exports and ending stocks. The corn crop is projected at 14.0 billion bushels, down from last year with a lower forecast area and yield. The yield projection of 174.0 bushels per acre is based on a weather-adjusted trend assuming normal planting progress and summer growing season weather, estimated using the 1988-2017 time period. With beginning stocks down from a year ago, total corn supplies at 16.3 billion bushels, if realized would be down 675 million from the prior year.
With total U.S. corn supply falling faster than use, 2018/19 U.S. ending stocks are down 500 million bushels from last year to 1.7 billion. The season-average farm price is projected at $3.30 to $4.30 per bushel, up 40 cents at the midpoint from 2017/18.
The soybean crop is projected at 4.28 billion bushels, down 112 million from last year’s record crop on a lower harvested area and trend yields. U.S. soybean exports are forecast at 2.29 billion bushels for 2018/19, up 225 million from 2017/18. With forecast global soybean import growth of five per cent, the U.S. soybean export share is projected at 39 per cent, up from 2017/18 but otherwise the lowest since 2012/13. Reduced stocks in South America this fall will limit export competition during the first half of the 2018/19 marketing year.
U.S. ending stocks for 2018/19 are projected at 415 million bushels, down 115 million from the revised 2017/18 forecast. The 2018/19 U.S. season-average soybean price range is forecast at $8.75 to $11.25 per bushel compared with $9.35 per bushel in 2017/18.
The 2018/19 U.S. wheat crop is projected at 1.821 billion bushels, up five per cent from the prior year. The year-over-year increase is due to a greater harvested area and slightly higher yield. Reduced beginning stocks and imports bring total supplies down 49 million bushels from the previous year. The all-wheat yield is projected at 46.8 bushels per acre, up slightly from 2017/18. Winter wheat yields are below average in the drought-affected states of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
Ending stocks for 2018/19 are projected down 115 million bushels to 955 million, which if realized would be a four-year low. The season-average farm price is projected at a range of $4.50 to $5.50 per bushel. The midpoint of this range is up $0.30 per bushel from the previous year and the highest since 2014/15.