The USDA left its production estimates for this year’s corn and soybean crops unchanged from the February forecasts, while raising its projection for U.S. corn-ethanol output and slashing its outlook for Argentina’s soybean harvest.
The corn crop will come in at 14.604 billion bushels (371 million metric tons), according to the department’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE). That’s unchanged from the month-ago estimate and down from the record 15.148 billion bushels harvested last year. Estimated ethanol use was raised 50 million bushels to 5.575 billion, or 38 percent of the total crop. The department also increased its estimate for corn exports by 175 million bushels to 2.225 billion, citing “U.S. price competitiveness, record-high outstanding sales and reduced exports from Argentina.”
Soybean farmers will harvest 4.392 billion bushels, unchanged from the February WASDE. The department cut its forecast for Argentina’s soybean production by 13 percent to 47 million metric tons. Projected soybean exports were up for Brazil and down for the U.S., possibly due to a shift in Chinese buying.
The WASDE blamed the cut to Argentine soy output on “lower projected yields resulting from dry conditions through much of the growing region in January and February.” Brazil’s soybean production was raised 1 million tons to 113 million.
Most of the figures for the U.S. wheat crop were left unchanged from February except for exports, which were cut 25 million bushels to 925 million, and ending stocks, which were raised 25 million, to 1.034 billion bushels.
In a separate report Crop Production report, USDA projected U.S. all-orange production at 3.88 million tons, down 2 percent from last month and down 25 percent from the 2016-2017 final utilization. The Florida all-orange forecast, at 45 million boxes (2.03 million tons) is unchanged from last month but down 35 percent from last season’s final utilization.
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