USDA is projecting record soybean exports and lower ending stocks for old crop soybeans and corn. The April 9 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates also projected improved export prospects for old crop cotton and the lowest ending stocks for rice in 10 years.
Projected U.S. soybean exports for 2008-2009 were increased 25 million bushels to a record 1.21 billion reflecting strong year-to-date shipments and outstanding sales, and prospects for reduced export competition from South America as the Argentina soybean crop continues to deteriorate. Soybean production for Argentina is projected at 39 million tons, down 4 million tons due to lower harvested area and yields. Soybean production for Brazil remains unchanged at 57 million tons.
U.S. soybean ending stocks were reduced 20 million bushels to a projected 165 million bushels, the lowest since 2003-2004. The U.S. season-average soybean price range for 2008-2009 is projected at $9.25 to $10.05 per bushel compared with $8.85 to $9.85 per bushel in March.
Last year's cotton production estimate was lowered 206,000 bales from March based on USDA's final Cotton Ginnings report, released March 25, 2009. Domestic mill use was lowered 100,000 bales to 3.65 million bales, as mill use reported for February fell sharply. However, exports were raised 500,000 bales, reflecting recent strong export sales and shipments. Ending stocks are now estimated at 6.7 million bales, or 41.5 percent of total use. The forecast season-average price range is 47 to 51 cents per pound.
World cotton consumption was reduced 1.2 percent, due to decreases for China and others. Estimated world ending stocks of 63.4 million bales were slightly above both the March estimate.
U.S. corn ending stocks for 2008-2009 were projected 40 million bushels lower in April as higher expected feed and residual use more than offset a reduction in food, seed, and industrial use. The 2008-2009 season-average farm price for corn is projected at $4.00 to $4.40 per bushel, up 10 cents on both ends of the range. This compares with the 2007-2008 record of $4.20 per bushel. The projected sorghum farm price was raised 10 cents on both ends of the range to $3.15 to $3.45 per bushel.
For rice, domestic and residual use was estimated at a record 135 million hundredweight, 6 percent above March estimates, and 9 percent above 2007-2008. Long-grain domestic and residual use was estimated at a record 104 million hundredweight, nearly 10 percent above the March estimate, while combined medium- and short-grain domestic and residual use was estimated at 31 million hundredweight, down 3 percent from last month.
All rice ending stocks were projected at 22.2 million hundredweight, 27 percent below March and the lowest stocks since 1998-1999. Long-grain stocks are estimated at 12.3 million hundredweight, down 39 percent from last month and the lowest stocks since 2003-2004. Combined medium- and short-grain stocks are estimated at 8.6 million hundredweight, unchanged from last month.
The all rice season-average farm price for 2008-2009 is forecast at $15.75 to $16.75 per hundredweight, up 25 cents per hundredweight on both ends of the range from a month ago. The combined medium- and short-grain farm price range is projected at $21.25 to $22.25 per hundredweight, up 75 cents on each end of the range from a month ago, while the long-grain farm price range is projected at $14.50 to $15.50 per hundredweight, unchanged from last month. Monthly prices reported by the National Agricultural Statistics Service through mid-March show a strengthening of the combined medium- and short-grain price and a weakening of the long-grain price.
U.S. wheat ending stocks for 2008-2009 were projected 16 million bushels lower in April. Imports were projected 5 million bushels higher mostly reflecting the pace of hard red spring and durum wheat imports from Canada. The 2008-2009 season-average farm price was projected up 10 cents on the lower end of the range to $6.80 to $6.90 per bushel. This is well above the previous record of $6.48 per bushel in 2007-2008.