ARLINGTON, Va. (DTN) — U.S. farmers are forecast to plant 91 million acres of corn, up 2.4 million acres from last year, while soybean acres will hold pat at 87.5 million acres and wheat production is expected to be up 14 percent from the previous year’s levels, according to USDA’s initial Outlook on the 2023-24 crops.
USDA also forecasts lower wheat, corn and soybean prices as production increases as well.
USDA released its Grain and Oilseeds Outlook at the opening of its annual Outlook Forum last Thursday in Arlington, Va.
U.S. wheat production is projected to increase 14% for 2023-24 to 1.887 billion bushels on both higher acreage and yield. Total wheat planted acre is projected at 49.5 million acres, up nearly 3.8 million acres from the 2022-23 crop, and the highest since 2016-17.
The average farmgate price for wheat is forecast at $8.50 a bushel, down 50 cents a bushel from the 2022-23 crop.
The all-wheat yield is projected to increase 6% to 49.2 bpa. Total wheat supply will hit 2.575 billion bushels, up 107 million bushels from last year’s crop.
Total domestic use is forecast at 1.142 billion bushels, up 17 million bushels. Exports are forecast at 825 million bushels, up 75 million bushels from 2022-23. That puts total use at 1.967 billion bushels, up 67 million bushels from a year ago. All-wheat ending stocks will come in at 608 million bushels, up 40 million bushels from a year ago.
USDA forecasts higher corn production for the 2023-24 crop year with 91 million acres planted and a record yield of 181.5 bushels per acre, producing a projected 15.09-billion-bushel crop, about 10% larger than a year ago. If realized, it would be the second-largest crop on record behind the 2016-17 crop year.
The higher production is expected to bring down the average farmgate price $1.10 a bushel from last year to $5.60 a bushel.
Citing the 181.5 bpa, USDA said the record yield forecast is based on a “weather-adjusted trend assuming normal planting progress and summer growing season weather.”
Total corn supplies are forecast at 16.38 billion bushels, up about 8% from the 2022-23 crop.
Looking at use, feed, seed and industrial use is unchanged at 6.69 billion bushels. Corn use for ethanol is projected at 5.25 billion bushels, “based on expectations of flat motor gasoline consumption.”
Feed and residual use is projected to rise 6% to 5.6 billion bushels due to higher corn production and expected lower prices during the year.
Exports are expected to rise 275 million bushels to 2.2 billion bushels due to “reduced exportable supplies in Ukraine,” and modest global trade growth.
Ending stocks are forecast to rise 620 million bushels to 1.887 billion bushels, resulting in a stocks-to-use ratio of 13%.
While planted acreage would remain unchanged at 87.5 million acres, USDA forecasts yields will rise 2.5 bushels per acre to 52 bpa. That would boost production 5% to 4.5 billion bushels, “assuming normal growing-season weather.”
The average farmgate price for soybeans is projected at $12.90 a bushel, down $1.40 a bushel from the 2022-23 crop.
Domestic soybean crush is projected to rise to a record 2.31 billion bushels, “supported by meal demand growth and high prices for biofuel feedstocks in the United States.” Soybean oil for biofuels is expected to grow 8% to 12.5 billion pounds in 2023-24.
USDA cited the driving increase for soybean oil in biofuels that has pushed up U.S. prices and driven down exports. “This trend is expected to continue under current state mandates and the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule for 2023 through 2025,” citing the EPA Renewable Fuels Standard rules.
Soybean exports for 2023-24 are forecast at 2.03 billion bushels, up 35 million bushels from the 2022-23 crop year. With harvest underway in Brazil, USDA cites that South American supplies will be higher this year as the U.S. export season gets underway. “With another large South American harvest expected in early 2024, export competition will likely limit potential gains in U.S. exports in the second half of the marketing year.”
Soybean ending stocks for 2023-24 are projected at 290 million bushels, up 65 million bushels from the 2023-24 forecast.