U.S. agriculture exports are going to be stronger than first expected in fiscal year 2021 and should eclipse 2020, according to a new USDA forecast that raised sales estimates for soybeans, sorghum, corn and wheat.

The value of total U.S. ag exports for FY21, which started Oct. 1, is now projected to reach $152 billion, a $11.5 billion increase from the August forecast and $17.1 billion more than the total exported during fiscal 2020.

U.S. soybean exports are one of the biggest drivers of the increased forecast as China continues on its record pace of imports. Chinese imports are also helping boost U.S. corn and sorghum shipments.

“The projection for soybean exports is up $5.9 billion to a record $26.3 billion due to higher unit values, strong demand from China, and record volumes,” the USDA analysts said in their quarterly report released Monday.

They said weakened global competition and strong prices spurred them to increase their forecast for the value of U.S. corn exports by $4.2 billion to $13.2 billion.

“Prospects for (U.S. corn) exports are bright with reduced competition from Ukraine, where exportable supplies are severely diminished, and anticipated higher demand from China,” USDA said. “Sorghum exports are forecast at $1.5 billion, up $100 million on higher unit values as sales and shipments to China remain strong.”

The USDA left its forecast for U.S. rice exports unchanged at $1.9 billion. Unusually high shipments to Brazil are spiking, but sales to other Latin American countries are lower than normal, offsetting the Brazil gains, the USDA analysts said.

As for meat, USDA left its export forecast unchanged from August at $32.3 billion.

“Exports of poultry and products are up $100 million to $5.2 billion on slightly higher volumes of broiler meat and other poultry meat due to firm global demand for competitively priced animal protein,” the analysis concluded. “Pork exports are forecast $200 million lower to $6.8 billion on slowing demand from China.”

The volume of beef exports is expected to decline, but strong prices will push the value of shipments up to $7.1 billion