USDA: US Corn Production

Here's the gist of what the USDA had to say today about US corn production and demand in the coming season:

Corn production for 2009/10 is projected at 12.1 billion bushels, down 11 million bushels from 2008/09 as lower plantings more than offset higher expected yields. Harvested area is projected at 77.8 million acres based on historical abandonment and derived demand for silage. The yield is projected at 155.4 bushels per acre, 1.5 bushels below the 1990-2008 trend based on the slow pace of planting in the eastern Corn Belt as reported in Crop Progress. The projected yield assumes a mid-May planting progress well below the 10-year average and just below last year’s delayed progress.

Corn supplies, projected at 13.7 billion bushels, are down 35 million from 2008/09. Lower 2009/10 beginning stocks reflect this month’s 50-million-bushel increases in both ethanol corn use and exports for 2008/09. Total U.S. corn use for 2009/10 is projected up 3 percent from the current year with higher expected food, seed, and industrial (FSI) use and exports more than offsetting a decline in projected feed and residual use. FSI use is projected 7 percent higher with a 350- million-bushel rise in ethanol corn use accounting for most of the increase.

Ethanol use, at 4.1 billion bushels, reflects the rising Federal biofuels mandate and improved blending incentives as higher gasoline prices increase demand for ethanol. Ethanol producer returns, however, will remain under pressure as excess production capacity weighs on producer margins. Exports are projected up 9 percent as world corn trade and feeding are expected to recover modestly in 2009/10, partly reflecting a reduction in global supplies of low-cost feed quality wheat. Domestic corn feed and residual use is projected down 2 percent with reduced animal numbers and increased availability of distiller’s grains. U.S. corn ending stocks for 2009/10 are projected down 28 percent to 1.1 billion bushels as use is expected to exceed production by 470 million bushels.