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Old vs. New Crop (5/12/15)

May 12th, 2015

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA reports.

Hart_Chad-thumbWith the May monthly reports, USDA provides an update on old crop data and a forecast on new crop information. For soybeans, the old crop news was mixed. Domestic crush and export demand were both raised by 10 million bushels. That lowered projected 2014/15 ending stocks by 20 million bushels, but that still leaves 350 million bushels in storage as we enter the next marketing year, more than triple what we had to begin this marketing year. But despite the increase in old crop demand, the season-average soybean price for 2014/15 was reduced by 5 cents to $10.05 per bushel. For the 2015/16 soybean crop, the acreage and yield remained steady with earlier USDA estimates. So the market is staring at 84.6 million acres of soybeans with an expected yield of 46 bushels per acre. The combination would produce 3.85 billion bushels of soybeans, the 2nd largest soybean crop on record. And while overall soybean demand is projected to be steady, domestic demand is seen increasing, while international demand is expected to fall slightly. Ending stocks are expected to build to 500 million bushels and the first official estimate of the 2015/16 season-average price is $9 per bushel.

The story for corn is a little different. Old crop demand is shrinking slightly, mainly in the food, seed, and industrial sector. Export demand is up 25 million bushels, but the nearly 50 million bushel drop in food, seed, and industrial use more than offset the international boost. 2014/15 ending stocks now top 1.85 billion bushels and the season-average price was lowered 5 cents to $3.65 per bushel. On the new crop, like with soybeans, the production numbers were unchanged from earlier estimates, 89.2 million acres planted with a yield of 166.8 bushels per harvested acre. So production is estimated at 13.63 billion bushels, projected to be the 3rd largest corn crop. New crop demand is expected to rise, with a 50 million bushel rise in feed demand, a 13 million bushel increase in food, seed, and industrial use, and a 75 million bushel growth in export demand. With the growth in demand, 2015/16 ending stocks are forecast to be roughly 1.75 billion bushels and the first official estimate of the 2015/16 season-average price is $3.50 per bushel.

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Crop Outlook

Ready to Plant

March 31st, 2015

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA reports.

Hart_Chad-thumbFarmers provided their first outlook on the 2015 crop year with the release of USDA’s Prospective Plantings report. And the general shift is along the lines that the market expected. Corn planting intentions came in at 89.2 million acres. That’s 200,000 acres more than USDA’s early estimate and a half of million acres more than the average trade guess, but it’s still 1.4 million acres less than was planted last year. Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa all reduced corn intentions slightly, but there are offsetting increases on the fringes of the Corn Belt. The largest moves are in Minnesota, up 300,000 acres, and South Dakota, down 600,000 acres. Soybean planting intentions are at a record 84.6 million acres. That is well above USDA’s early estimate of 83.5 million acres, but below the average trade guess at 85.9 million acres. The I-states all increased soybean intentions, with Iowa topping 10 million acres. The big movers are Nebraska, down 300,000 acres, and Ohio, up 250,000 acres. Given USDA’s trend yields, the acreage numbers imply expected crops of 13.625 billion bushels for corn and 3.85 billion bushels of soybeans.

These projected large crops are coming on top of last year’s record crops. The Grain Stocks report was also released today and it showed more crop still sitting in storage. Soybean stocks came in at 1.33 billion bushels, up 34 percent from last year, even though disappearance was slightly higher. Corn stocks stand 7.74 billion bushels, up 11 percent from last year, as disappearance was basically flat. The main punchline from today’s reports is that supplies continue to build and while demand is growing, it will take a while to work through the expected production. Prices have lowered to reflect this and these reports don’t change that dynamic.

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Finding a Little More Demand for Corn (3/10/15)

March 11th, 2015

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA report.

Hart_Chad-thumbWith the mid-March USDA supply and demand report, the corn picture is a little brighter today. Feed demand was increased to 5.3 billion bushels as the expansion in the livestock sector continues. Corn demand via ethanol was lowered 50 million bushels, but still stands at 5.2 billion bushels.  Processing efficiency at ethanol plants has improved and USDA incorporated that efficiency change in this update. So the feed and ethanol changes offset each other. But with corn exports also shifted up 50 million bushels, the overall demand structure for corn continues to grow. With total use now estimated at just under 13.7 billion bushels, corn demand is at record levels. And while ending stocks are projected to increase from last year, the growth in stocks is not as large as once feared. Given the improving demand, USDA increased the midpoint of its season-average price range 5 cents, to $3.70 per bushel.

For soybeans, this was a very quiet report on the domestic front. There were no changes to the U.S. soybean balance sheet. Domestic crush demand is projected at 1.795 billion bushels. Soybean exports are set at 1.79 billion bushels. Ending stocks are estimated at 385 million bushels, up from 92 million the year before. And the midpoint of the season-average price range is set at $10.20 per bushel. Globally, soybean production is at record levels as well. But global soybean trade is growing to work through the large supplies.

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Crop Outlook

A Quiet Report

December 10th, 2014

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA report.

Hart_Chad-thumbThere were very few changes in this month’s USDA report. As is typical in December, the supply side estimates were left unchanged from the November numbers. And the demand changes were minor, but in a positive direction. Corn use for sweeteners was increased 10 million bushels. That was enough to lower 2014/15 ending stocks to just below the 2 billion bushel mark. For soybeans, exports continue to lead the demand charge. Soybean exports were raised 40 million bushels, to a record 1.76 billion. That reduced soybean ending stocks to 410 million bushels. However, for both crops, the midpoints of the season-average price ranges remained at last month’s levels, $3.50 for corn and $10 for soybeans. It was a quiet report for the holiday season.

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Acreage Reduced, But Yields Offset

October 10th, 2014

Acreage Reduced, But Yields Offset (10/10/14)

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA report.

Hart_Chad-thumbOver the past couple of months, there had been significant discussion of crop acreage numbers and whether the NASS estimates would be adjusted downward. That adjustment occurred in the most recent reports. For corn, planted and harvested area were reduced by 700,000 acres. A similar downward adjustment took place for soybeans. But in both cases, the acreage losses were offset by higher yields so that total production continued to climb. The national average corn yield was raised 2.5 bushels to 174.2 bushels per acre. The corn yield estimates were raised in 22 states. And 22 states are projected to set state records as well. Illinois is projected at 200 bushels per acre. The jump in soybean yields isn’t quite as dramatic, but the end result is the same, larger production. The national average is projected at 47.1 bushels per acre, up 0.5 bushels. 13 states are expected to have record yields.

Putting it all together, USDA estimates a 14.475 billion bushel corn crop and a 3.927 billion bushel soybean crop. Both, by far, the largest crops the country has ever produced. In comparison, the demand projections were little changed. Corn feed and residual use was increased by 50 million bushels. That was the only shift in projected demand for the 2014 crops. Estimates for the 2014/15 market year average prices dropped 10 cents for corn to a midpoint of $3.40 per bushel. For soybeans, the price estimates held steady, with a midpoint of $10 per bushel.

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Crop Outlook

This Big Crop Got Bigger

September 11th, 2014

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA report.

Hart_Chad-thumbThis Big Crop Got Bigger (9/11/14)

The word “record” continues to fly around agriculture as USDA released its WASDE and Crop Production reports. In August, USDA projected record corn and soybean crops. In September, USDA increased the size of those records. In both cases, crop acreage was held steady, going against some suggestions that acreage might be reduced, based on certified plantings from the Farm Service Agency. The national average corn yield was raised to 171.7 bushels per acre. USDA also raised the corn yield estimates in 24 states.  Only one state (Pennsylvania) saw a reduction in expected corn yield. These yield estimates increase projected 2014 corn production to 14.395 billion bushels, roughly 470 million bushels more last year’s record crop. The national average soybean yields increased to 46.6 bushels per acre, 1.2 bushels above last month’s estimate. Twenty state soybean yields were also increased.  Soybean production is now pegged at 3.913 billion bushels, that’s over 550 million bushels more than the previous record.

On the demand side, USDA put forward increases in feed and residual, ethanol, food, seed, and export uses for corn. The shifts brought corn demand to a record 13.605 billion bushels.  But with supplies still outracing demand, corn ending stocks are projected to exceed 2 billion bushels. With the increased ending stocks, USDA lowered the midpoint of its season-average price range by 40 cents to $3.50 per bushel. Domestic crush and export demand increased for soybeans. But the general story is the same as it is for corn, higher ending stocks and lower crop prices. The midpoint of the season-average price range fell 35 cents to $10 per bushel.

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Crop Outlook

Record Crops, But Somewhat Smaller Than Expected

August 12th, 2014

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA report.

Hart_Chad-thumbRecord Crops, But Somewhat Smaller Than Expected (8/12/14)

The USDA’s WASDE and Crop Production reports were released today. These reports were heavily anticipated by the markets as they represent the first set of estimates based on objective data from the field. The pre-trade expectations were for both crops to reach record production levels. And on that count, the reports agreed. But the production levels projected by USDA are slightly smaller than expected. For corn, the adjustments actually start with the 2013 crop. As we finish up the 2013 marketing year, corn demand has continued to build. In these latest numbers, USDA increased ethanol demand by 45 million bushels and export demand by 20 million bushels. Those changes cut ending stocks to 1.18 billion bushels, which was outside the range of pre-trade expectations. For the 2014 corn crop, there were a number of shifts on both the supply and demand front. The national yield was estimated at 167.4 bushels per acre. That’s up 2.1 bushels from USDA’s original estimate and up 8.6 bushels from last year. Given that yield, production is pegged at just over 14 billion bushels, topping last year’s record. However, the trade was looking for production in 14.2 billion bushel range, so the corn crop is a little lighter than anticipated. Feed, ethanol, and export demand were all increased, raising total demand to 13.435 billion bushels. Carryout stands at 1.8 billion bushels. The midpoint of the 2014/15 season-average price range was lowered to $3.90 per bushels, down 10 cents from last month.

For soybeans, the shifts for the 2013 crop basically offset each other, leaving ending stocks at 140 million bushels and a season-average price of $13 per bushel. For the 2014 crop, the yield was increased by 0.2 bushels per acre to a national average of 45.4 bushels per acre. That puts production at 3.816 billion bushels. Demand for the 2014 crop was left unchanged, so the production increase was absorbed into ending stocks. Carryout was raised to 430 million bushels for the 2014/15 crop and the midpoint of the 2014/15 season-average price range was lowered 15 cents to $10.35 per bushel.

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Crop Outlook

A Very Quiet Report

June 11th, 2014

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA report.

A Very Quiet Report (6/11/14)

97hartsmUSDA released its June update for crop supplies and demand and the updates were few and far between. For corn, there were no changes to the supply and demand estimates for the 2014 crop. Yield is projected at 165.3 bushels per acre.  Production is projected at a record 13.935 billion bushels, 10 million bushels above last year’s record crop. Total use is set at 13.385 billion bushels, down 250 million bushels from last year. 2014/15 ending stocks are set at 1.726 billion bushels, up 580 million bushels from the previous year. And the midpoint of the season-average price range remains at $4.20 per bushel.

For soybeans, there was one adjustment, but it was for the 2013 crop. 2013 domestic crush was increased 5 million bushels. Otherwise, as with corn, the projections remain the same. Yield is projected at 45.2 bushels per acre. Production is projected at a record 3.635 billion bushels. Total use is set at 3.45 billion bushels. 2014/15 ending stocks are set 325 million bushels, up 200 million from the previous year. And the midpoint of the season-average price range is $10.75 per bushel.

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Crop Outlook, Crops

The 1st Official Look at 2014

May 9th, 2014

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA report.

97hartsmThe 1st Official Look at 2014 (5/9/14)

With the May World Ag. Supply and Demand Estimates report, USDA provides its 1st official set of projections for the 2014 crops. We can compare these numbers to USDA’s unofficial numbers from the Ag Outlook Forum they hold in February each year. On the supply side, the number to watch is the yield. And is typically the case with the 1st estimates, USDA maintains trendline yields for both corn and soybeans. Those are 165.3 bushels per acre for corn and 45.2 bushels per acre for soybeans. Given the acreage estimates from the March Prospective Plantings report, then 2014 shapes up to be a record year for corn and soybeans. On the demand side, all of the sectors (feed, ethanol, crush, and exports) are in play. And the current projections are generally higher than those from February. Ethanol and export demand for corn was raised for both old and new crop corn. The weak spot on the corn side is feed demand, as fewer animals translate to slightly smaller demand. Export demand for soybeans continues to soar to record levels, while domestic crush demand also grows (but more slowly than anticipated in February). In the February outlook, season-average price estimates were set at $3.90 per bushel for corn and $9.65 per bushel for soybeans. With the higher demand numbers with the May report, these estimates move to $4.20 for corn and $10.75 for soybeans. So with Iowa production costs in the $4.50 range for corn and $11 range for soybeans, the USDA projections still indicate negative returns for both crops, but the gap has shrunk significantly.

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Crop Outlook, Crops

Stocks and Small Grains

September 30th, 2013

Chad Hart, ISU Extension Grain Marketing Economist, provides a summary of the latest USDA report.

97hartsmStocks and Small Grains (9/30/13)

USDA found more bushels of corn and soybeans in bins at the end of the marketing year than traders expected. Corn stocks were estimated at 842 million bushels, down 17% from last year, but that was still 10% higher than the highest trade estimate. Disappearance of corn over the June to August period was 1.94 billion bushels. 4th quarter disappearance was 2.16 billion bushels in 2012. So corn demand continued to be sluggish this summer as users waited for the new crop to come in.

Soybean stocks were estimated at 141 million bushels, down 17% from last year. USDA revised the 2012 soybean crop estimates by increasing harvested acres by 60,000 acres, yields by 0.2 bushels per acre (for a national average of 39.8 bushels per acres), and production by 19 million bushels. These adjustments basically explain the increase in soybean stocks from last month’s estimate. Soybean disappearance in the 4th quarter fell off the table, as it was down 41% from last year’s levels.

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Crop Outlook