USDA New Crop Projections Require Perfect Growing Conditions

26 February 2021

Rising demand for corn and soybeans will keep US supplies tight throughout next year, despite forecast near-record production. But any significant weather setback, such as continued drought in the western US Plains, could upend that scenario and risk sending US grain supplies into a tailspin. 

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The USDA Outlook Forum last week forecast the 2021/22 corn crop will be the biggest ever at 15.150 billion bushels (384.8 million tonnes), on record yield and planted acres. Still, ending stocks for next year are projected to increase just 3% to 1.552 billion bushels (38.4 million tonnes), which would represent the tightest corn carryout since the drought year of 2012/13. 

The USDA expects increased demand for ethanol and strong exports to China will offset much of the corn production gains. 

Similarly, soybean ending stocks are estimated at 145 million bushels (3.9 million tonnes) for 2021/22, the USDA’s lowest-ever early-season estimate. Soybean carryout estimates could tighten further given that the USDA appears to underestimate soybean demand in 2020/21, based on the current trajectory of exports and US domestic crush, as Gro has written about previously. 

For wheat, new crop production is expected to fall short of demand, resulting in estimated ending stocks for 2021/22 at their lowest levels in eight years. 

Climate disruptions just in the past year have ranged from drought and wildfires to extreme freezing and a derecho windstorm. Given tight supplies for all major US crops, following Gro’s yield forecasting models, balance sheets, and environmental indicators in the upcoming season has become more important than ever. 

This insight was powered by the Gro platform, which enables better and faster decisions about factors affecting the entire global agricultural ecosystem. Gro organizes over 40,000 datasets from sources around the world into a unified ontology, which allows users to derive valuable insights such as this one. You can explore the data available on Gro with a free account, or please get in touch if you would like to learn more about a specific crop, region, or business issue.

 

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