Crop technology and producer innovation continue to make record corn yield and production commonplace, but surging global demand could make supply strains just as common.
The 2009 U.S. corn yield is the largest on record, at 164.7 bu./acre, explains Darrel Good, University of Illinois ag economist. Harvested acreage of corn for grain was 1.02 million acres more than that harvested in 2008, although well below the record acreage of 2007. Soybean yield was also record high.
“As a result of record yields and large acreage, production of both crops was record large in 2009,” Good says. Corn production was estimated at 13.11 billion bu., 72 million bu. larger than the previous record of 2007. Soybean production was estimated at 3.359 billion bu., 162 million bu. more than the previous record of 2006.
Based on the USDA's June 10 forecasts, consumption of U.S. corn during the current marketing year will exceed production in 2009, Good says. Consumption for all purposes is projected at 13.19 billion bu., 1.134 billion bu. more than consumption of a year ago and 453 million bu. above the previous record of 2007-08.
According to Good, the year-over-year increase in consumption is led by an expected 873-million-bu. increase in the amount of corn used for ethanol production. Year-ending stocks are projected at 1.603 billion bu., 70 million bu. smaller than stocks at the beginning of the year.
Good says exports during the current marketing year could be slightly larger than projected. Cumulative export inspections through June 10 totaled 1.407 billion bu. Through April, Census Bureau export estimates exceeded USDA estimates by 72 million bu.
Keep in mind the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week delayed until September its decision regarding an increase in the gasoline ethanol blending rate.
Good says a similar supply and consumption pattern is forecast for the 2010-11 marketing year. Harvested acreage of corn for grain is expected to total 81.8 million acres, 2.2 million acres larger than in 2009. That forecast will be updated on June 30. The U.S. average yield is projected at 163.5 bu., second only to the record of 2009, resulting in a record production of 13.37 billion bu. However, consumption is forecast at 13.41 billion bu., resulting in a year-over-year reduction in ending stocks of 30 million bu.
Consumption of U.S. soybeans during the current marketing year is expected to reach a record 3.328 billion bu., 247 million more than the previous record of 2006-07. The 281-million-bu. increase year over year reflects a 172-million-bu. increase in exports and a 72-million-bu. increase in the domestic crush.
“Use in both categories was supported by a small South American soybean harvest in 2009 and record large imports by China,” Good says.
“The bottom line is that another record U.S. corn crop will be required in 2010 to accommodate growing consumption," Good explains. "There may be a little more breathing room for soybeans, but a rain-delayed end to planting in the Midwest and hot, dry conditions in the Delta are of concern.”
For the week ending June 13, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service:
Corn – 98% has emerged, 4% more than last year and 1% more than average. Progress was most rapid in the Dakotas and the Ohio Valley where near-normal temperatures, coupled with ample soil moisture, promoted emergence of 10% or more. 77% is in Good to Excellent condition, 7% more than a year ago.
Soybeans – 91% is planted, 5% more than last year and 1% ahead of average. Double-digit progress was evident in Kansas, North Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee, where 10% or more of the crop was planted during the week. 80% has emerged, 13% more than last year and 1% more than average. Above average temperatures promoted emergence of 10% or more throughout much of the major soybean-producing regions. 73% is rated in Good or Excellent condition, 7% more than last year.
Winter wheat – 88% was at or beyond the heading stage, 1% less than last year and 4% behind the average. The most significant heading delays were evident in the Pacific Northwest and Montana, where continued cool temperatures slowed crop development. 9% is harvested, 2% ahead of last year, but 3% behind the average pace. Warm, mostly dry conditions throughout much of the week promoted harvest progress of 26% or more in Arkansas, North Carolina and Oklahoma. 66% is in Good to Excellent condition, 22% more than last year.
Spring wheat – 97% has emerged, 5% ahead of last year but 1% behind the five-year average. Similar to the barley crop, spring wheat emergence trailed normal in Idaho and Montana by 4% and 5%, respectively. 86% is in Good to Excellent condition, 11% more than last year.
Sorghum – 78% is planted, which is 1% behind last year and 2% ahead of normal. The most significant delay was evident in Nebraska, where overall planting progress was 8%, or four days behind normal. 18% of the crop has headed, which is 4% more than last year and 1% more than the average. 73% is in Good to Excellent condition. In Texas, some early-planted sorghum fields in the Southern Low Plains were damaged due to heat stress, while some producers in the Coastal Bend sprayed insecticide on fields that were infested with stink bugs and head worms.
Oats – 50% of the crop is at the heading stage, 12% ahead of last year and 8% in front of the five-year average. Head development was rapid throughout much of the major oat-producing regions during the week, with progress of 24% or more evident in all estimating states except: North Dakota, where heading had yet to begin; South Dakota, and Texas, where heading was complete. 81% is reported in Good or Excellent condition, 26% more than at the same time a year ago.
Barley – 96% has emerged, which is 5% ahead of last year but 1% behind the five-year average. The most significant delays remained in Idaho and Montana, where continued cooler than normal temperatures held crop growth to a minimum. 88% is reported in Good or Excellent condition, 8% more than at the same time a year ago.
Pasture – 72% of the nation’s pasture and range is rated as Good or Excellent, 12% more than at the same time last year. 6% is rated Poor or Very Poor, compared to 14% a year ago. States reporting more than 15% of pasture as Poor or Very Poor were: Arizona (32%); New Mexico (33%); and Texas (16%).