Acreage Adjustment (10/9/15)

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

Hart_Chad-thumbIt took until the October reports, but USDA adjusted its crop acreage estimates for corn and soybeans down. Corn area was reduced by a half of a million acres. Soybeans lost 1.1 million acres. These moves more than offset the slight yield bump USDA projected. The national corn yield estimate was raised a half of a bushel to 168 bushels per acre. The national soybean yield estimate increased a tenth of a bushel to 47.2 bushels per acre. National corn production was lowered by 30 million bushels; national soybean production was reduced by 47 million bushels.

There were no adjustments made to new crop corn demand. So the drop in production led to a slight increase in USDA’s projection for the marketing year average price. The midpoint of their price range now sits at $3.80 per bushel, up 5 cents from last month. New crop soybean demand took a hit though. While domestic crush increased 10 million bushels, soybean exports were dropped by 50 million bushels. And USDA held firm on their soybean marketing year price range, with the midpoint remaining at $9.15 per bushel.

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Mixed News in the Reports (9/11/15)

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

Hart_Chad-thumbDemand for the 2014 crops came out a little stronger, but the prospects for the 2015 crop production remain at or above trade expectations. Starting with demand for the old crop, the estimates show a little across-the-board surge to finish out the marketing year. Corn demand via ethanol was raised 5 million bushels; corn usage in sweeteners and other food products rose 10 million bushels; and exports jumped 25 million bushels. For soybeans, old crop demand increased both domestically (up 23 million bushels) and internationally (up 10 million bushels). The increase in demand lowered ending stocks going into the 2015 marketing year. But the impact on the season-average price was rather small, with the corn price lowered 2 cents to $3.68 per bushel, while the soybean price was raised a penny to $10.06 per bushel.

Looking forward to this fall’s harvest, USDA’s projections were reduced on the corn side, but increased for soybeans. The national corn yield estimate was dropped to 167.5 bushels per acre. While record yields are still being projected for several states, the conditions through August resulted a one to three bushel reduction in expected yields across the upper Midwest. Overall, corn production is estimated at 13.585 billion bushels, down roughly 100 million from last month and down 630 million from last year. But that is still strong enough to be the 3rd largest corn crop in U.S. history. The national soybean yield estimate rose to 47.1 bushels per acre, up 0.2 bushels. Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana soybean yields were all raised by a bushel, with Iowa projected at a record 53 bushels per acre. The current soybean crop estimate puts U.S. total production just 34 million bushels below last year’s record. So the supply side of the market remains robust.

The demand outlook for the 2015 crops was mixed. Soybean demand is up slightly, as domestic usage was raised 8 million bushels. The projection for soybean exports was held steady as 1.725 billion bushels, down 110 million from last year. For corn, feed and residual demand was lowered by 25 million bushels. But corn sweetener demand was expected to rise by 5 million bushels and exports were held steady with last month’s projections. The projected ending stocks for the 2015/16 marketing year now stand at 1.59 billion bushels for corn, down 121 million from last month, and 450 million bushels for soybeans, down 20 million from last month. Based on these adjustments, USDA raised the midpoint on their season-average price range for corn back to $3.75 per bushel, but kept the soybean price at $9.15 per bushel. Futures prices before the release of the reports had pointed to 2015/16 season-average prices below those levels, indicating corn in the $3.50 range and soybeans around $8.25-8.50. So the USDA report does offer some hope for slightly higher prices as we move through the marketing year, but the improvement will not be very large.

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Demand Remains Robust (7/10/15)

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

Hart_Chad-thumbThe July USDA World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report held some interesting nuggets for the market to chew on. Starting with the 2014 crops, demand remained robust as all of the major demand sectors were increased for the crops in the bins. Corn feed demand was increased 50 million bushels. Ethanol demand for corn was raised 25 million bushels. Corn export demand was also increased 25 million bushels. Soybean crush bumped up 15 million bushels and soybean exports were increased the same amount. These changes pulled 2014/15 ending stocks below the average trade expectations and allowed USDA to increase its season-average price estimate for corn to $3.70 per bushel, up 5 cents from last month. The soybean season-average price estimate remained at $10.05 per bushel.

Looking at the 2015 crops, the acreage numbers from last month’s report were the only update on the supply side. So yield and production estimates came in above trade expectations as the trade was looking for a downshift in yields given the weather issues this spring and summer. Current estimates have the national average corn yield at 166.8 bushels per acre and the national average soybean yield at 46 bushels per acre. Given the June acreage numbers, that would put production at 13.53 billion bushels for corn and 3.885 billion bushels for soybeans. Both of those numbers were roughly 100 million bushels above trade expectations.

On the demand side for the 2015 crops, the news was mixed. Increases were reported for corn usage in ethanol and for soybean crush. However, corn feed usage and exports were lowered. The end result is lower 2015/16 ending stocks than previously estimated by USDA, but the numbers still exceeded trade expectations. Corn stocks were projected at 1.6 billion bushels, while soybean stocks stood at 425 million bushels. With the tightening of the stocks for 2015/16, USDA increased both the corn and soybean season-average price estimates by 25 cents per bushel, with corn at $3.75 per bushel and soybeans at $9.25 per bushel.

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