Big Crops Got Smaller

BY: Katie Micik DTN Markets Editor


WASHINGTON (DTN) — USDA trimmed the size of the 2015 corn and soybean crops, forecast significant declines in winter wheat seedings and left Brazil’s soybean production unchanged in the bevy of reports released Tuesday morning.

USDA released its latest Crop Production, Crop Production Annual Summary, Quarterly Grain Stocks, Winter Wheat Seedings and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports Tuesday. (Logo courtesy of USDA)

At 11 a.m. USDA released its quarterly Grain Stocks, Annual Crop Production, Winter Wheat Seedings, the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Report and more.

Among the major highlights:

— The U.S. soybean crop was pegged at 3.93 billion bushels, 1% lower than USDA’s forecast in November and below the range of pre-report expectations. The national average yield is still a record at 48 bushels per acre.

— USDA pegged the corn crop at 13.6 bb, down 53 mb on a lower national average yield.

— Corn stocks as of December 1 came in at 11.21 billion bushels. That’s larger than last year even though the U.S. produced a smaller crop in 2015.

— Soybean stocks are larger than they were in 2006-07 at 2.72 bb, even though demand in the first quarter was stronger than the five- and 10-year averages.

— Pre-report wheat seedings estimates missed the mark by almost 3 million acres. USDA forecast farmers seeded 36.6 ma to winter wheat, while analysts expected from 39.3 ma.

— USDA left Brazil and Argentina soybean production unchanged from last month at 100 million metric tons and 57 mmt, respectively. However, USDA did reduce Argentina’s soybean ending stocks estimate based on higher domestic crush and exports. Brazil’s ending stocks forecast increased slightly on an increase in beginning stocks.

— China’s expected to import 80.5 mmt of soybeans, unchanged from USDA’s previous estimate.


Farmers harvested a 13.601 billion bushel corn crop in 2015, according to USDA’s last estimate of production. That’s down from 13.65 bb estimate in November and within the range of pre-report expectations.

The national average yield, at 168.4 bushels per acre, was 0.9 bpa lower than its previous estimates.

USDA pegged soybean production at 3.93 bb, a decrease from its previous 3.98 bb. It came in below the range of pre-report expectations. The national average yield is 48 bpa, 0.3 bpa lower than USDA’s last estimate.

Sorghum production totaled 597 million bushels with a record national average yield of 76 bpa.


Corn stocks totaled 11.212 billion bushels as of December 1, USDA said. Farmers held 6.83 bb on-farm, down 4% from last year, and 4.38 bb in off-farm locations, up 6% from last year. It set a record for corn on hand after the first quarter of usage and was within the range of pre-report expectations. September-to-December disappearance totaled 4.12 billion bushels, down from 4.24 during the same period the year prior.

Soybeans stored in all positions totaled 2.715 billion bushels, which was close to the average pre-report estimate. Of the total stocks, 1.31 bb are stored on-farm, up 8% from last year, while 1.41 bb are stored off-farm, up 7% from last year. Total disappearance for from September to December totaled 1.41 bb, down 6% from the same period last year.

Wheat stocks, at 1.738 billion bushels, are within the range of pre-report expectations. Farmers stored 503 mb on-farm, up 6% from last year, and 1.23 bb off-farm, up 7% from last December. Disappearance from September through November was 5% lower than the same period a year earlier at 359 mb.


USDA said farmers seeded 36.6 million acres to winter wheat this fall, almost 3 million acres below the range of pre-report expectations. Of that, 26.5 ma was planted to hard red winter wheat, 6.7 ma planted to soft red winter wheat and 3.4 ma planted to white wheat.


USDA incorporated its updated production and quarterly Grain Stocks estimates into its latest supply and demand balance sheets for corn, soybeans and wheat.


USDA boosted its estimate of 2015-16 corn ending stocks to 1.802 bb, compared to its December forecast of 1.785 bb. That was within the range of trade expectations.

To get there, USDA incorporated lower production and a 10 mb increase in imports. It also cut food, seed and industrial use by 10 mb and exports by 50 mb.

The ending stocks-to-use ratio came in at 13.3%, compared to 13.1% last month. The national average farm gate price ranged from $3.30 to $3.90 per bushel, essentially sliding the range lower by a nickel.

Globally, USDA lowered ending stocks to 208.9 million metric tons, down from December’s estimate of 211.9 mmt. It came in below trade expectations as USDA cut South Africa’s corn production by 4 mmt.

USDA left Brazil and Argentina’s corn production estimates unchanged at 81.5 mmt and 25.6 mmt, respectively.

The global ending stocks-to-use came in at 21.6%, compared to 21.8% last month.


USDA cut its forecast for 22015-16 soybean ending stock to 440 mb, compared to its December estimate of 465 mb.

In addition to its change in production, USDA lowered its export forecast by 25 mb and residual by 2 mb.

Ending stocks to use came in at 11.9%, compared to 12.4% last month. The national average farm gate prices were projected to average between $8.05 and $9.55 per bushel, shifting the range lower by 10 cents.

Globally, USDA pegged ending stocks at 79.3 mmt, down from last month’s 82.58 mmt estimate. The forecast for Brazil’s production was unchanged at 100 mmt. Argentina’s production was also unchanged at 57 mmt.

The global stocks-to-use ratio was 25.2%, compared to last month’s 26.4%.


USDA pegged wheat ending stocks for 2015-16 at 941 mb, higher than last month’s 911 mb estimate. USDA cut its forecast for seed use by 6 mb and trimmed its feed and residual estimate by 30 mb.

That put ending stocks-to-use at 47.5%, compared to last month’s 45.1%. The national average farm gate price ranged from $4.90 to $5.10 per bushel, narrowing the range by 10 cents on the high and low sides.

Globally, USDA increased its forecast for wheat ending stocks to 232 mmt, up from last month’s forecast of 229.9 mmt and above the range of pre-report expectations. USDA left Argentina and Australia’s production unchanged at 10.5 mmt and 26 mmt, respectively.

The global stocks-to-use ratio came in at 32.4% compared to 32.1% last month.

U.S. CROP PRODUCTION 2015-2016 (million bushels)
Jan. Avg. High Low Dec. 2014-15
Corn 13,601 13,647 13,770 13,526 13,654 14,216
Soybeans 3,930 3,983 4,043 3,955 3,981 3,927
Sorghum 597 593 597 589 594 433
WINTER WHEAT ACREAGE (million acres)
Jan. Avg. High Low 2014
All Winter 36.6 39.3 40.8 38.3 39.5
Hard Red 26.5 28.7 29.6 27.6 29.0
Soft Red 6.7 7.2 8.5 6.4 7.1
White 3.4 3.4 3.5 3.3 3.4
QUARTERLY STOCKS (billion bushels)
(Report date 1/12/16) 12/1/15 Avg. High Low 9/1/15 12/1/14
Corn 11.212 11.250 11.800 11.073 1.731 11.211
Soybeans 2.715 2.718 2.852 2.590 0.191 2.528
Wheat 1.738 1.697 1.750 1.647 2.089 1.530
Sorghum 0.314 0.431 0.435 0.427 0.018 0.223
U.S. ENDING STOCKS (billion bushels)
Jan. Avg. High Low Dec. 2014-15
Corn 1.802 1.774 1.885 1.642 1.785 1.731
Soybeans 0.440 0.471 0.500 0.430 0.465 0.191
Sorghum 0.065 0.058 0.061 0.055 0.059 0.018
Wheat 0.941 0.919 0.947 0.891 0.911 0.753
WORLD ENDING STOCKS (million tonnes)
Jan. Avg. High Low Dec. 2014-15
Corn 208.9 213.1 221.0 209.9 211.9 208.2
Soybeans 79.3 82.5 84.0 77.5 82.6 77.7
Wheat 232.0 229.8 231.1 228.0 229.9 212.1
WORLD PRODUCTION (million metric tons)
2015-16 2014-15
Jan. Dec. Jan. Dec.
Argentina wheat 10.5 10.5 12.5 12.5
Australia wheat 26.0 26.0 23.7 23.7
Argentina corn 25.6 25.6 26.5 26.5
Brazil corn 81.5 81.5 85.0 85.0
Argentine soybeans 57.0 57.0 61.4 61.4
Brazil soybeans 100.0 100.0 96.2 96.2