In the March 28 Grain Stocks report, March 1 corn stocks were estimated at 5.4 billion bushels, 10 percent below March 1, 2012, yet higher than most analysts expected. The impact of the unanticipated additional stocks was apparent nearly immediately in the futures market where the May corn futures price slipped by more than $1.00 per bushel within days of the Grains Stocks report release. A total of 2.67 million bushels of corn was reported to be stored onfarm and 2.73 million bushels were stored at commercial facilities. The share of corn held on farms was very low, at 49 percent, compared with an average of 57 percent for the previous 10 years. The share of corn being used for ethanol likely played a factor as ethanol mills take delivery very shortly before use, whereas export and feed markets tend to have more corn on hand or in transit.

Projected U.S. feed grain supplies for 2012/13 at 318.9 million metric tons are up slightly from last month, with small increases projected for barley and sorghum imports. Supplies for 2012/13 are 11 percent below last year’s 358.5 million tons. Total use of the four feed grains is expected to be 297.1 million tons, 2.8 million tons below last month’s forecast. This will be the third consecutive year that total use declines, unprecedented since at least 1975/76.

The 2012/13 feed and residual use projection for the four feed grains plus wheat is lowered by 1.5 million tons from last month due to lower forecast feed corn and wheat use. At 124.9 million tons, it is projected 5.6 million below the 2011/12 total of 130.6 million. Grain consuming animal units (GCAUs) in 2012/13 are projected at 92.07 million units, less than a unit above last month’s projection. Feed and residual use per animal unit is 1.36 tons, slightly less than last month’s 1.41 tons and 0.05 tons per unit less than the 2011/12 marketing year, mostly due to lower residual use with the smaller crop.