Wednesday, February 28, 2024

ERS: Increases in current U.S. corn export amounts

By David B. Strickland Poultry Times editor

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WASHINGTON — The production of U.S. feed grain for 2023/2024 was estimated in December at 400 million metric tons by the USDA’s Economic Research Service in its most recent “Feed Outlook” report. The total feed grain supply was forecast at 439.4 million metric tons.

“Strong corn exports and healthy outstanding sales, particularly for Mexico, contribute to a 25-million-bushel increase in the 2023/24 U.S. corn export forecast,” ERS said. “The corn and sorghum season-average prices received by farmers remain unchanged; however, barley and oats prices are raised to align with reported prices to date.”

ERS added that U.S. corn production reported in December was at 15.2 billion bushels, with noted stronger than expected yields reported by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The department added that as farmers wrapped up their year-end harvests, the January estimates will give a clearer look at 2024’s production.

However, “the 2023/24 corn supply forecast remains unchanged at 16.6 billion bushels (in December), as accumulated corn imports suggest that the United States is poised to hit the current forecast of 25 million bushels.”

The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service reported in late November that U.S. corn export commitments were just above 1 billion bushels.

“This number is nearly 300 million bushels higher than the same time last year and is largely driven by heavy corn purchasing from Mexico,” ERS said. “Mexico’s 2023/24 corn production forecast is lowered by 1 million metric tons on lower area. Although higher beginning stocks help alleviate the cut to the overall Mexican corn supply, it is not enough to completely offset such a loss — particularly on the heels of growing Mexican red meat and poultry production.”

This had led Mexico to increase its imports of U.S. corn, the department added.

“In fact, U.S. corn exports to Mexico jumped 20 million bushels in October from the previous month, accounting for nearly 64 percent of the October U.S. corn trade,” the report noted.

In continuing its look at U.S. corn exports, ERS said that November shipments will be greater than October amounts.

“U.S. corn export sales to Mexico were 55 percent higher in November than October,” the report said. “Moreover, FAS reported that outstanding sales of U.S. corn to Mexico grew by 9.4 percent over the last month. Thus, despite the growing corn demand by Mexico, November will represent the first month of the 2023/24 marketing year in which more than 50 percent of outstanding U.S. corn sales are not claimed by Mexico. In short, this number signals strong demand in the 2023/24 marketing year for U.S. corn exports. These factors support the 25-million-bushel increase in the 2023/24 corn export forecast to 2.1 billion bushels. This change is reflected in the ending stocks projection, which is lowered to 2.13 billion bushels.”

· Ukraine

The corn trade for December was estimated by ERS to be 1.7 million tons higher and to equal about 199.1 million tons.

“Ukraine corn exports are projected 1 million tons higher (in December) to reach 21 million, still the lowest export volume since 2017/18 (when corn output was 24 million tons),” the report noted. “Corn supplies are projected higher (in December) in Ukraine, as improved corn yields expand production by 1 million tons to 30.5 million.”

ERS added that Ukraine is highly focused on exports and that its grains and oilseeds are mainly produced to be shipped out.

“Typically, domestic consumption of corn in Ukraine is less than 20 percent of its supplies, and given current wartime conditions, that percentage has fallen to 16.5 percent,” the department said. “Under normal circumstances, Ukraine also does not stock much grain. However, corn stocks increase when the country’s ability to export grain is hindered. Given the level of current Ukrainian corn supplies, the country could have exported even more corn as its prices continue to be very competitive, if not for Russian military actions impeding exports out of the Black Sea.”

ERS also noted that for the U.S., estimated corn exports during the October to September 2023/24 trade year are forecast at 54 million metric tons.

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