Corn yields break records in latest WASDE 

Corn harvest (Photo: Keith Werner - Wanatah, Indiana)

The big news in the most recent World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates was the adjusted size of the corn crop. The WASDE estimated the 2023-24 United States corn production at a record 15.3 billion bushels. 

That was an increase of 108 million bushels from previous estimates, due to an increase in yield to a record 177.3 bushels per acre. The total crop figure was partly offset by a 0.6-million acre decline in harvested area. Total corn use was raised by 75 million bushels to 14.6 billion. With supply rising more than use, 2023-24 corn stocks were up by 31 million bushels.   

Corn used for ethanol was raised 50 million bushels to 5.4 billion. Feed and residual use was raised 25 million bushels to 5.7 billion, based on indicated disappearance during the September to November quarter as reflected by the Grain Stocks report, and historical revisions to production and stocks from 2018 to 2022 following the recent Agricultural Census results.   

Foreign corn production was forecast higher, with increases for China, India, and Paraguay partly offset by a decline for Brazil. China corn production was raised to a record 288.8 million tons based on the latest area and yield data from the National Bureau of Statistics. India corn production was raised on higher area. Brazil corn production was cut reflecting lower second crop corn area expectations. 

Major global coarse grain trade changes for 2023-24 include increased corn exports for Turkey, but reductions for Brazil and India. Corn imports were raised for Iran, Iraq, and Turkey but reduced for the European Union, Bangladesh and Vietnam. Sorghum exports were raised for the United States, with higher imports projected for China. China’s corn feed and residual use was raised based on a larger crop. Foreign corn ending stocks were higher, mostly reflecting an increase for China partly offset by a decline for Brazil. Global corn stocks, at 325.2 million tons, are up 10 million.  

Wheat stocks down

Projected 2023-24 U.S. wheat ending stocks were lowered 11 million bushels, based on decreased supplies that more than offset less use. June 1 beginning stocks were reduced based on the National Agricultural Statistics Service Grain Stocks report. Seed use was reduced by 1 million bushels to 64 million.

All wheat feed and residual use for 2023-24 remained unchanged and reflected disappearance for June-November, as indicated by the Dec. 1 and revised Sept. 1 stocks released in the NASS Grain Stocks report. 

The global wheat outlook for 2023-24 was for larger supplies, consumption, trade, and ending stocks compared with last month. Global supplies were raised by 3.6 million tons to 1,056.5 million tons on higher beginning stocks and production. The increase in global beginning stocks was primarily the result of revisions for Ukraine, where beginning stocks were raised 2.2 million tons to 3.5 million on downward revisions to feed and residual use estimates since 2021-22. Production was changed in several countries based mostly on updated government estimates, with increases for Russia, Ukraine, and Saudi Arabia more than offsetting a decrease for China. 

Global wheat consumption was raised 1.8 million tons to 796.5 million, mainly on higher feed and residual use for India and the EU. EU wheat consumption was increased, based on larger projected imports from Ukraine, partially offsetting reduced use of feed grains.   

World wheat trade was raised 2.4 million tons to 209.5 million on higher exports by Ukraine, Russia, Australia, and Canada that more than offset a decrease for the EU. Exports for Ukraine were raised by 1.5 million tons to 14 million tons but are still below last year’s estimates. 

Soybeans: Lower exports, more biofuel use

U.S. oilseed production for 2023-24 was estimated at 122.4 million tons, up by 0.9 million from last month. Higher soybean, rapeseed, and sunflower seed crops were partly offset by lower peanuts and cottonseed. Soybean production was estimated at 4.2 billion bushels, up by 35 million, led by increases for Illinois, Missouri and North Dakota. Harvested area is estimated at 82.4 million acres, down 0.4 million from the previous report. Yield was estimated at 50.6 bushels per acre, up 0.7 bushels. 

The soybean export and crush forecasts remained unchanged. With higher supplies and slightly lower residual, ending stocks were projected at 280 million bushels, up by 35 million bushels. The soybean oil balance sheet adjustments included increased imports and biofuel use, and lower exports and food, feed, and other industrial use. Lower food, feed and other industrial use were partly offset by higher imports and consumption of canola oil. 

Global 2023-24 soybean production was raised by 0.1 million tons to 399 million tons, as higher production forecasts for Argentina, the U.S., Russia, China, Paraguay, and Bolivia were offset by lower Brazil production. Abundant early-season rainfall improved yield prospects for Argentina and Paraguay, raising production by 2 million tons to 50 million and 0.3 million tons to 10.3 million, respectively.   

China’s soybean crop was increased 0.3 million tons to 20.8 million based on reports from China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Soybean production for Russia was raised by 0.4 million tons to 6.8 million on a higher yield.   

Brazilian soybean production down

Conversely, soybean production for Brazil was forecast at 157 million tons, down 4 million from last month and down 3 million tons from last year’s record crop of 160 million tons. Reduced rainfall in the Center West region and northeastern states lowered yield potential. Another notable oilseed change includes lower global sunflower seed production, down 1.3 million tons, on lower output for the EU, Argentina and Russia. 

Global soybean crush for 2023-24 remained nearly unchanged, with lower crush for Brazil mostly offset by higher crush for Argentina, India, Bolivia, Egypt, and Thailand. Soybean meal trade also remained unchanged as higher exports for Argentina, India, and Bolivia offset lower Brazilian shipments.

Global soybean exports for 2023-24 were increased by 0.7 million tons to 170.9 million, with higher exports for Paraguay and Russia. Global soybean ending stocks were forecast at 114.6 million tons, up 0.4 million, mainly on higher stocks for the U.S. and Argentina partly offset by lower Brazilian stocks. 

David Murray can be reached at [email protected]. 

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