The Department of Agriculture released market-shifting reports on Friday, largely showing robust production in 2017 adding to an already solid amount of stocks on hand around the world.
The reports noted records in U.S. corn yield and soybean production, all the while pointing to global stocks that don’t show any signs of providing relief for low commodity prices.
In the Department’s annual Crop Production report, soybean production and harvested acreage both hit record amounts in 2017, coming in at 4.39 billion bushels and 89.5 million acres. The average yield came in at 49.1 bushels per acre, a dip of about 3 bpa from 2016’s record.
The 2017 estimated U.S. corn crop came in at 14.6 billion bushels, a 4 percent drop from 2016’s estimated production. The crop’s average yield, however, set a U.S. record at 176.6 bpa, and harvested area rounded out at 82.7 million acres, a 5 percent drop from the year prior.
USDA’s Winter Wheat and Canola Seedings report delivered a surprise, with the trade estimates ultimately overestimating the acreage adjustment that was coming in winter wheat acreage.
“Probably the highlight of the report was the winter wheat acres were expected to be slashed 1.3 million acres, and it came in basically unchanged,” said Don Roose, founder of U.S. Commodities Inc., a grain and livestock investment and management firm in West Des Moines, Iowa.
The World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates pegged U.S. wheat ending stocks at 29 million bushels higher “on increased supplies and decreased use," but lowered global supplies by 0.8 million tons on reduced beginning stocks.
That same report also raised corn stocks 40 million bushels and reported a season-average corn price at $3.25 per bushel. Total global coarse grain production – which also includes sorghum – is estimated slightly higher to 1.3 billion tons. Meanwhile, soybean exports are projected 65 million bushels lower and ending stocks are projected at 470 million bushels.
For the most part, Roose said the report day largely fell within trade expectations.
“We went into the report supply bearish, and I think you come out of the report supply bearish,” he said. The January batch of reports, Roose added, are often important, market-moving reports.
“It kind of lays out where we’re at for the rest of the winter,” he said. The weather in South America will be key, and could determine important marketing decisions for U.S. growers. “From a producer standpoint, it tells him if he has some real marketing opportunities. I think when you look at this report, you’re really down to weather problems in South America in a La Niña year that have to surface.”