What's Expected From The USDA Monday Afternoon

The first important numbers of the New Year are out Monday afternoon at 13.30GMT. The most important number for me will be the winter wheat plantings.

The lowest estimate on the radar screens for total wheat seedings for the 2009 crop is 42.92 million acres, and the highest is 45.80 million acres from Citigroup. The average trade guess is 44.178 million acres, 2 million acres below last season's 46.181 million.

For corn and soybeans, a slight tweak is anticipated for final 2008 production numbers.

For corn, the average of all analysts estimates is 11.982 billion bushels, in a range of 11.880 billion to 12.078 billion. In November, the USDA put corn at 12.020 billion bushels and 2007's crop was a record 13.074 billion bushels.

The average yield is pegged at 153.3 bushels per acre, down a half a bushel from November, but up 2.2 from 2007. Expectations range from 152.3 to 154.5 bushels per acre.

On the soybean front, final output is expected to come in at 2.910 billion bushels, compared to November's guess of 2.921 billion and the 2007 total of 2.676 billion. Analysts’ estimates range from 2.879 billion to 2.940 billion bushels.

The average estimate for yield is 39.1 bushels per acre. That would be down two tenths of a bushel from November and 2.6 less than 2007. Estimates run from 38.7 to 39.6 bushels per acre.

Stocks data is also out Monday, with quarterly stocks for corn estimated at an average of 9.845 billion bushels, in a range 9.699-9.998 billion. Soybean quarterly stocks are estimated at an average of 2.181 billion bushels, in a range 1.973-2.238 billion.

For year ending stocks the average estimate for corn is 1.489 billion bushels and 186 million bushels for beans. That would be an increase of 15 million bushels for corn, year on year, and a decrease of 19 million bushels for beans. For wheat ending stocks are seen at 600 million bushels, almost double last year's 306 million.