Much larger corn crops in Argentina and the U.S. will be driving down global prices and spurring international trade in the 2023-24 marketing year, USDA said Friday.

U.S. corn farmers are planting more acreage this year and yields will be stronger, driving production to a record-high of 15.3 billion bushels, according to USDA's World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. With beginning stocks expected at about 1.4 billion bushels, total corn supplies are forecast to reach 16.7 billion bushels – the highest level in six years.

With all that corn and rising demand from countries like China, USDA expects U.S. exports will surge for the 2023-24 marketing year to 2.1 billion bushels, a 325 million-bushel increase from the previous marketing year, “as lower prices support a sharp increase in global trade following the decline seen during 2022-23.”

While total use for U.S. corn, including a 1% increase for ethanol production, will rise, supplies will be higher in 2023-24, which starts Sept. 1, pushing ending stocks up to 805 million bushels, the highest level since 2016-17.

U.S. corn exports will still be below historical highs and again be overshadowed by Brazilian trade.

“Exports are higher for Argentina and Brazil, with the former reflecting a return to normal weather conditions after a drought during 2022-23,” the report said. “Despite a rebound in U.S. exports, Brazil is forecast to be the world’s largest exporter of corn for the second consecutive year.”

The rebound for Argentine corn production and exports in the 2023-24 marketing year will be substantial, says USDA. Argentina is now forecast to produce 54 million metric tons of corn, up dramatically from just 37 million for 2022-23. And the country is predicted to export 40.5 million tons in the coming marketing year, up from 25 million tons.

Brazil is harvesting a record second corn crop – or safrinha – for 2022-23, but production is expected to dip for 2023-24. Regardless, Brazilians are expected to continue to export more.

The U.S. is expected to ship more corn to China, but so is Brazil as the country continues on as the world’s largest exporter.

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“China recorded substantive corn imports from Brazil beginning in January 2023,” USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service said in a separate report released Friday. “With a plentiful 2023 safrinha expected, some of those supplies will be exported in 2023-24.”

Overall, China’s corn imports in 2023-24 are expected to reach 23 million tons, a 5-million-ton increase from 2022-23.

Record global soy production forecast

When it comes to soybeans, the USDA is predicting higher production in the U.S., Brazil, and Argentina for the 2023-24 marketing year, pushing global production to a new record of 410.6 million tons. That would be an 11% increase from 2022-23.

“If realized, year-over-year soybean production will expand by the largest amount in over a decade, predominantly on higher yields in Argentina following this year’s historic drought,” FAS said in its monthly Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade report. “Argentina accounts for more than half of production gains, while Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay account for more than a quarter of production gains on both expanded planted area and higher yields in all three countries.”

Brazil is expected to produce 163 million tons of soybeans next year and export 96.5 million of that total. Brazil produced 155 million tons this year and is seen exporting 93 million in the 2022-23 marketing year.

USDA is now forecasting the U.S. will produce 4.51 billion bushels of soybeans for 2023-23, up from 4.28 million, but prices and exports are both expected to decline in the face of rising competition from South America.

“With projected weaker growth for China and EU soybean imports, coupled with record South American supplies, the U.S. share of global exports is expected to decline,” the WASDE report said.

Still, the U.S. crush is expected to be stronger in 2023-24, rising to 2.31 billion bushels, “up 90 million from the 2022-23 forecast on favorable crush margins and strong demand for soybean oil as a biofuel feedstock, which is projected to increase 900 million pounds to 12.5 billion.”

U.S. soybean ending stocks are forecast up to 335 million bushels for 2023-24, up from 215 million.