USDA: More grain stocks than thought

URBANA, Ill. — The USDA’s June Grain Stocks and Acreage reports revealed larger numbers than generally expected.

These current estimates were negative for corn prices, but provided some support for soybean prices.

“Taken together, the USDA reports were negative for corn prices,” said Darrel Good, University of Illinois Extension economist.

“With a slowdown in corn use already happening, year-end stocks will likely be at least 100 million bushels larger than the 1.433 billion bushels projected by USDA earlier in the month.

In addition, Good said, the acreage estimate suggests less rationing will be needed next year, although stock levels will still likely decline during the 2008-09 marketing year.

Tighter bean stocks

For soybeans, production may fall short of the 3.1 billion bushels projected earlier in the year by USDA, keeping stocks extremely tight for another year.

“For the next two months, prices will be all about U.S. weather,” Good said.

June 1 stocks of U.S. corn were estimated at 4.028 billion bushels, nearly 500 million larger than stocks of a year ago and about 100 million larger than the average trade guess.

After a 13 percent increase in feed and residual use of corn during the first half of the year — perhaps reflecting an overestimate of the size of the 2007 crop — use during the third quarter of the marketing year was about equal to that of a year ago.

Will herds liquidate?

Good expects corn use during the summer quarter will be impacted by the rate of liquidation of animal numbers, which has been modest to date, and the rate of wheat feeding, which should be substantial.

Use for the year may fall short of the USDA projection of 6.15 billion bushels, Good said.

June 1 stocks of soybeans were estimated at 676 million bushels, 416 million less than stocks of a year ago, but only a few bushels larger than the average trade guess.

After negligible feed and residual use of soybeans in the first half of the year — perhaps reflecting an underestimate of the size of the 2007 crop — use was near normal in the third quarter of the year.

Wheat stocks

Wheat stocks on June 1, the beginning of the 2008-09 marketing year, were estimated at 305.6 million bushels, about 150 million less than stocks of a year ago, but about 20 million above the average trade guess and about 50 million larger than the USDA projection earlier in the month.

New survey

The USDA indicated that it re-interviewed about 1,200 farmers on June 23, 24, and 25 to supplement the data collected in the normal survey procedure for the June acreage report.

“The results indicate that producers planted or intended to plant 87.327 million acres of corn for all purposes this year. That is about 1.3 million acres above intentions reported in March and 2 million acres above the average trade guess,” Good said.

Corn acreage intended for harvest as grain is projected at 78.94 million, 7.6 million less than harvested in 2007.

The difference between acreage planted and harvested for grain is estimated at 8.387 million, about 1.2 million more than normal.

Abandoned fields

Widespread flooding is expected to result in more abandoned acres or perhaps more acres harvested for silage, Good said.

“Yield potential is difficult to predict, but based on improving weather, a benign weather forecast for July, and improving crop condition ratings, potential yield is likely at or above the USDA’s June assessment of 148.9 bushels,” he added.

The 2008 production potential may be between 11.8 and 12.0 billion bushels, Good said.

Bean acreage

The USDA’s said acreage planted, or intended to be planted, to soybeans is 74.533 million acres. That is 10.9 million more than planted in 2007, 260,000 less than indicated in March, and 330,000 more than the average trade guess.

“At the time of the survey, however, producers indicated that 21 percent of the intended soybean acreage had not been planted, the most since 1996,” Good said.

Soybean acreage for harvest is projected at 72.121 million acres, 9.3 million more than harvested in 2007. The difference between planted and harvested acreage of 2.4 million acres indicates that about 1.4 million more acres will be abandoned than is typically the case.

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