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USDA - WASDE FORECAST #563, March 9th 2016


Mar 15, 2017



The March 9th 2017 USDA WASDE projections for the 2016/7 corn and soybean crops reflected actual harvest data. Areas for corn and soybeans were unchanged at 86.7 million and 82.7 million acres respectively.

The USDA retained corn and soybean yields to 174.6 bushels per acre and 52.1 bushels per acre.


Ending stocks for corn and soybeans were projected at 2,320 million bushels (down 1.4 percent) and for soybeans 435 million bushels (up 3.5 percent) compared to the data in the February WASDE.

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The corn harvest attained a near record of 15,148 million bushels. None of the major categories of use were appreciably changed as is normal for a post-harvest WASDE report. The projected USDA range in farm price incorporated a 40 cent per bushel spread and price was unchanged compared to the February 2017 WASDE Report, attaining 320 to 360 cents per bushel. At the close of trading on March 10th, CME quotations for March and July 2017 corn were 359 cents and 373 cents per bushel respectively.

The RFS for 2016 was belatedly determined to be 18.11 billion gallons by the EPA on November 30th 2015 (See Editorial in CHICK-CITE). The value was four percent higher than the May 2015 proposal of 17.4 billion gallons. It is doubtful that the incoming Administration will alter existing RFS levels given support of the Midwest agricultural sector to the election outcome and reinforced by assurances to corn-state legislators in early January 2017. A wild card will be the influence of the incoming EPA Administrator and Secretary of Energy, both of whom favor the oil and refining industries of their home states and both have historically opposed the RFS. Business associates of the President-elect have recently commented negatively on the system of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) which affect the profitability of many domestic refineries.

The prevailing but stable historically low oil price reflects a slowing of World economic activity and increased oil and gas production in North America. Supply is a function of now restricted output from Saudi Arabia, lower production from Nigeria and Venezuela, resumption of supply from Iraq and Iran, and interference by Russia in Mideast affairs. Reduced output according to an OPEC “agreement” in early December 2016 and subsequent negotiations between OPEC and Russia are all contributory factors, determining the balance between supply and demand which is important to the livestock industry as oil price is correlated to grain prices. The WTI fluctuated in a narrow range around $54 per barrel during the past month with a sharp decline into March.


USDA document a soybean harvest of 4,307 million bushels. Use parameters were essentially unchanged from the February WASDE Report.  USDA adjusted the ex-farm price for soybeans from March 2016 projections to a range of 930 cents to 990 cents per bushel. At close of trading on March 10th CME quotations for soybeans for March and July 2017 delivery were 997 cents and 1,018 cents per bushel respectively.

Production of soybean meal was projected to be 45.611 million tons. Estimated soybean meal prices were retained from February over a range of $310 to $340 per ton. At the close of trading on March 10th, CME quotations for March and July 2017 soybean meal were $325 and $333 respectively. The price projections based on CME quotations for corn and soybeans suggest stable to slightly higher production costs for broilers and eggs.  Going forward, prices of commodities will be determined by World supply and demand and U.S. domestic use and exports.

  • For each 10 cents per bushel change in corn:-
  • The cost of egg production would change by 0.45 cent per dozen
  • The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per live pound
  • For each $10 per ton change in the cost of soybean meal:-
  • The cost of egg production would change by 0.40 cent per dozen
  • The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per live pound.

World Situation

The USDA is able to provide a reasonably accurate projection of World supply and demand for coarse grains and oilseeds based on the status of crops in the Southern Hemisphere.  Global coarse grain production was increased to 1,341 million metric tons based on higher harvests in Brazil, South Africa and India. Oilseed trade will increase by 0.4 million tons due to exports from Brazil and Canada.

Updated World production and use of total grains and oilseeds as summarized for the 2016/2017 season are:-

    Factor   m.tons.                            Coarse grains           Oilseeds      

Output                                                  1.341                     558

Supply                                                  1.588                     647

World trade                                             191                     162

Use                                                       1.332                     469

Ending stocks                                          255                      94

(1 metric ton corn= 40 bushels)  (“ton” represents 2,000 pounds)



Harvest Area                                 86.7 m* acres (94.0 m. acres planted, corresponding to 92.2 % of area harvested)

Yield                                              174.6 bushels per acre (was 173.4 in the December Report)

Beginning Stocks                         1,737 m. bushels

Production                                  15,148 m. bushels

Imports                                              55 m. bushels

Total supply                                16,940 m bushels       Proportion of Supply 

Feed & residual                            5,550 m. bushels                32.8% 

Food & Seed                                 1,445 m. bushels                 8.5% 

Ethanol & byproducts                   5,400 m. bushels               31.8 %

Domestic Use                              12,395 m. bushels               73.1%

Exports                                           2,225 m. bushels              13.1%

Ending Stocks                                2,320 m. bushels              13.8 %

Stock-to- domestic use proportion    18.7% (was 18.8% in the February WASDE Report)

Average Farm Price: $3.20 to $3.60 per bushel. (Unchanged from February WASDE Report)




Harvest Area                                82.7m. acres (83.4 m. acres planted, corresponding to 99.2% of planted acreage )

Yield                                               52.1 bushels/acre (was 52.5 in December Report)

Beginning Stock                           197m. bushels

Production                                  4,307m bushels

Imports                                           24m. bushels

Total Supply                              4,528m bushels        Proportion of Supply

Crushings                                  1,940m. bushels                42.8%

Exports                                      2,025m. bushels                44.7%

Seed                                                95 m. bushels                 2.1%

Residual                                          33 m. bushels                0.7 %

Total Use                                   4,093 m. bushels               90.4%

Ending Stocks                               435m. bushels                  9.6% 

Average Farm Price:  930 to 990 cents per bushel (Up 20 cents per bushel on low end and unchanged on the high end compared to the February WASDE Report)  

Soybean Meal

Beginning Stocks                            264 m  tons

Production                                   45.611 m.  tons

Imports                                              325 m. tons

Total Supply                                 46.200 m. tons                           

Domestic Use                                34.300 m. tons

Exports                                          11.600 m. tons

Total Use                                       45.900 m. tons 

Ending Stocks                                      300 m. tons 

Average Price ex plant$310 to $340 per ton (Unchanged from the February WASDE report)