U. S. soybean exports will hit a record 1.21 billion bushels this marketing year, helping whittle the U. S. stockpile to 165 million bushels, the smallest in five years, the government forecast on April 9.
“That is a tight number,” Don Roose, analyst for U. S. Commodities, said of the stockpile, roughly a three-week supply. It could be smaller than that in the end, he said, because of high demand for the oilseed.
The Agriculture Department boosted its soybean export forecast by 25 million bushels because of strong demand from markets like China and less competition from South America.
Drought decimated Argentina’s crop, now estimated at 39 million tonnes, down four million tonnes from the March estimate.
The previous U. S. soybean export record was 1.161 billion bushels in 2007-08.
USDA said soybeans would sell for an average $9.65 a bushel at the farm gate in 2008-09, topped only by the $10.10-a-bushel average in the 2007-08 marketing year, which ended Aug. 31.
Corn and wheat will fetch record prices at the farm gate this marketing year, said USDA – a season average $6.85 a bushel for wheat and $4.20 a bushel for corn to tie the 2007-08 price.
“The main thing is most of that crop was priced last year,” before market prices plunged, said USDA chief economist Joe Glauber.
Soybean exports remain strong to China, where they are crushed to make a livestock feed ingredient. “They continue to import protein. We’ve been a ready market,” Glauber said.
The USDA trimmed its estimate of the 2008 cotton crop by 206,000 bales to 12.83 million bales weighing 480 lbs. (218 kg), based on its season-ending report on ginnings.
Also in its monthly update on crop output and demand, USDA said:
Record-high U. S. demand for rice will result in the smallest stockpile in 10 years, 22.2 million hundredweight (710,000 tonnes) when the marketing year ends on July 31.
Mexico will ship one million short tons raw value (STRV) of sugar to the United States, “based on the strong pace to date.” The figure is up 320,000 STRV the previous month. Analysts said the increase may eliminate the need for USDA to change sugar quotas.
Pork and poultry meat production will be slightly smaller than had been expected.
Milk production will drop by one per cent, to 187.8 billion lbs. this year as farmers liquidate herds in the face of a price collapse. The all-milk price is forecast to average $12.10 per 100 lbs. this year, up slightly from March but far below $18.32 per 100 lbs. in 2008.