The Agriculture Department has raised its forecast for ag exports in fiscal year 2022 to $196 billion but also predicted the value of overseas shipments will fall in FY 2023.

The new quarterly forecast from USDA’s Economic Research Service and Foreign Agricultural Service has ag exports dropping to $193.5 billion in FY 2023 – about 1.2% – as the value of sales to foreign buyers of commodities like cotton, beef, corn, wheat and sorghum falls.

The USDA agencies say the value of exports of commodities like soybeans and horticultural products will rise in FY 2023, but not enough to make up for declines in meat and grain.

Three ports in Odesa have reopened despite the continuation of the war with Russia, allowing increased grain exports out of the Black Sea, but global demand and prices are expected to remain strong, according to the USDA report.

For wheat, USDA says the volume of exports will actually be higher in 2023, but lower prices will pull the value of total shipments down.

“Wheat exports are forecast at $7.8 billion, down $300 million from FY 2022, reflecting larger export volumes but lower unit values on higher available exportable supplies,” the report says.

For rice, it’s the opposite. The volume of exports will fall off, but farmers will ship $2.2 billion worth of the grain in FY 2023, $200 million more than FY 2022.

U.S. cotton farmers will be harvesting a lot less cotton this fall after months of drought forced many to abandon their fields. Cotton exports are expected to drop by $1.8 billion in FY 2023.

The volume of U.S. soybean exports is expected to fall slightly, but the value of those sales is expected to reach a new high in FY 2023.

“Soybean export values are projected to reach a record $35.2 billion despite a marginal drop in volumes from the previous year,” USDA says. “U.S. soybean export volumes are expected to be lower than FY 2022 due to a combination of factors including higher soybean prices, strong domestic crush, and increased competition from Brazil.”

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Brazil is expected to plant record-high acreage this year, but it's still unclear how good growing conditions will be.  

Beef prices will remain high in the U.S. for the coming fiscal year, but tight supplies will mean fewer sales to foreign buyers.

“FY 2023 livestock, poultry, and dairy exports are forecast down $1.5 billion to $41.1 billion on declines in most product groups,” according to the USDA report. “Beef exports are forecast down $1.1 billion to $9.8 billion as higher prices fail to offset lower volumes driven by tight U.S. supplies. Dairy products are forecast $500 million lower to $9 billion.”

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