The latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report (WASDE) was released recently. During December, raging wildfires in southern California and a late-month cold wave east of the Rockies highlighted a La Niña-driven weather regime. La Niña also contributed to a broad expanse of drier than-normal conditions, especially across the southern tier of the country. A few areas, however, received significant December precipitation. Wet (or snowy) areas included the northern High Plains and parts of the Northwest, as well as areas downwind of the Great Lakes. After mid-month, a pair of heavy precipitation events across the interior Southeast eased drought and generally benefited winter grains and cover crops. Meanwhile, snow cover across the North increased in advance of bitterly cold weather, providing insulation for winter wheat. In contrast, winter wheat across the southern half of the Plains—already stressed by developing drought—was left exposed as cold weather arrived.
WHEAT: Projected 2017/18 U.S. wheat ending stocks are raised 29 million bushels on increased supplies and decreased use. Seed use is lowered 4 million bushels on the winter wheat planted area released today in the NASS Winter Wheat and Canola Seedings report. Wheat feed and residual use for 2017/18 is lowered 20 million bushels. Global wheat supplies for 2017/18 are lowered 0.8 million tons on reduced beginning stocks, more than offsetting increased production. World beginning stocks are lowered 2.6 million tons mostly on a large 2016/17 production cut for Australia, reflecting updated Australia Bureau of Statistics data. World production for 2017/18 is raised 1.8 million tons led by a 2.0-million-ton increase for Russia and a 0.8-million-ton increased for Pakistan.
COARSE GRAINS: This month’s 2017/18 U.S. corn outlook is for larger production, increased food, seed, and industrial use (FSI), lower feed and residual use, and greater stocks. Corn production is estimated at 14.604 billion bushels, up 26 million from last month as an increase in yield to a record 176.6 bushels per acre is partially offset by a 0.4-million acre reduction in harvested area. Among the major producing states, yields are estimated to be record high in Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio. Sorghum production for 2017/18 is estimated 8 million bushels higher as an increase in yield to 72.1 bushels per acre more than offsets a marginal reduction in harvested area. Grain sorghum prices are forecast at $3.15 per bushel, up 5 cents at the midpoint.
Global coarse grain production for 2017/18 is forecast 0.3 million tons higher to 1,324.2 million. This month’s 2017/18 foreign coarse grain outlook is for lower production and consumption and greater trade relative to last month. Barley production is down as a reduction for Russia more than offsets an increase for Argentina.
RICE: U.S. 2017/18 all rice production is 178.2 million cwt, down fractionally from the previous estimate and down 20 percent from last year. The all rice average yield is estimated at 7,507 pounds per acre, up 46 pounds from the prior estimate. Long-grain production is raised to 127.9 million cwt and medium- and short-grain production is lowered to 50.4 million. All rice domestic and residual usage is increased by 5.0 million cwt to 120.0 million on higher-than-expected usage for August-November. Global 2017/18 rice supplies are increased by 1.3 million tons to 622.8 million, primarily on larger crops for the Philippines and Pakistan.
OILSEEDS: U.S. oilseed production for 2017/18 is estimated at 131.3 million tons, down 0.9 million from last month. Smaller soybean, peanut, and cottonseed crops are partly offset by increases for canola and sunflower seed. Soybean production is estimated at 4,392 million bushels, down 33 million on lower yields. Harvested area is estimated at 89.5 million acres, up fractionally from the previous forecast. Soybean meal production is unchanged as the higher crush is offset by a lower extraction rate. Soybean exports are reduced 65 million bushels.
Global oilseed production is projected at 580.1 million tons, up 0.5 million. Soybean production is raised 0.1 million tons to 348.6 million on gains for Brazil and the EU that are partly offset by lower production for Argentina and the United States. Global oilseed trade for 2017/18 is projected at 176.0 million tons, down 0.4 million from last month.
SUGAR: U.S. sugar supply for 2017/18 is increased by 72,353 short tons, raw value (STRV), mainly due to increases in expected cane sugar production partially offset by a decrease in beet sugar production. The ending stocks total for 2017/18 remains at 1.008 million MT, an amount to meet sugar supply requirements of domestic consumption before the next season harvest.
LIVESTOCK, POULTRY, DAIRY: The estimate of 2017 total red meat and poultry production is reduced from last month. Based on preliminary data, beef and turkey production estimates are lowered, more than offsetting higher pork and broiler production. The egg production estimate is raised modestly on late-2017 production data. For 2018, the total red meat and poultry production forecast is raised as higher expected pork, beef, and WASDE-573-4 broiler production offsets lower turkey production. The 2018 beef production forecast is raised as higher cattle placements in late 2017 are expected to result in higher fed cattle marketings and slaughter in the first half of 2018. Average carcass weights are also expected to be heavier. USDA will release its semi-annual Cattle report on January 31, providing estimates of heifers held for breeding and an insight into the number of feeder cattle available for placement during 2018. The pork production forecast for 2018 is raised. USDA’s Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report estimated the September-November pig crop was 3 percent above 2016 which supports a higher first-half production forecast. The report also indicated producers expect to expand farrowings about 3 percent in the first half of the year which, coupled with continued gains in pigs per litter, supports higher second-half production. Forecast broiler production is raised for 2018 on favorable returns. Turkey production is reduced based on continued weak demand. The egg production forecast is raised slightly.
Beef imports are increased for 2017 on increased shipments from Oceania. No change is made to exports. Pork exports for 2017 are raised reflecting the pace of trade to date but no change is made to pork imports. Broiler imports and exports are raised for 2017, reflecting recent trade data. For 2018, livestock, broiler, and egg trade forecasts remain unchanged from last month.
The milk production estimate for 2017 is reduced on recent data. For 2018, the milk production estimate is reduced on slower anticipated growth in the dairy cow herd combined with continued slow growth in milk per cow.
COTTON: This month’s 2017/18 U.S. cotton forecasts include slightly lower production and ending stocks. Production is reduced 177,000 bales due to small declines in regions outside the Delta. Ending stocks are reduced 100,000 bales, while domestic mill use and exports are unchanged.
Offsetting changes in foreign production and consumption characterize the global 2017/18 cotton forecasts this month. Global production is raised 1.0 million bales as a 1.4-million-bale increase for China is only partly offset by small decreases in India, the United States, and Australia. Global consumption is raised 1.2 million bales largely due to a 1.0-million-bale increase for China. World consumption is forecast to grow at a 5.2 percent annual rate in 2017/18.
Read the full latest USDA WASDE Report.
The February WASDE Report is scheduled for release February 8, 2018.