Corn stocks and demand in the United States remain stable according to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture today. Although potential for change in the May report was noted, the agency found that, at present, the previous estimates require no revision.
This news follows reports issued by USDA late yesterday indicating that seven percent of the U.S. corn crop had already been planted as of Sunday. This indicates progress significantly ahead of the five-year average as only two percent of the crop would normally be planted at that time.
Much of the early planting is occurring in the south and central Corn Belt with Tennessee and Kentucky leading the push with planting 31 and 25 points over the average respectively. Missouri and Illinois also have planted earlier than normal to a large degree. While all major corn production states with only the exceptions of North Dakota and Wisconsin have documented planting already, the data clearly suggests that most farmers are waiting to plant until their crop insurance dates, which will occur later this week for much of the Corn Belt.
"Coupled with prior reports that farmers plan to plant significantly more acres to corn this year, the outlook for America's supply is very positive," said National Corn Growers Association President Garry Niemeyer. "Favorable weather has allowed some to get a jump on planting, but many have also chosen to take a more cautious approach and wait until their corn acres will be protected in the case of difficulties later in the season. Either way, we expect to see a strong, abundant crop in 2012."
Feed and residual demand estimates remained unchanged at 4.6 billion bushels, but the report did note that prospects for higher levels of wheat feeding later in the summer could affect demand at that time. Additionally, early planting potentially will allow some of the new crop to enter feed markets before September.
Ethanol and feed co-product demand estimates also remained steady at 5.0 billion bushels despite a declining grind in February and March. Export demand also head stable at 1.7 billion bushels.
At this time, the USDA did not revise carry-out estimates which remain at 800 million bushels. This data came as somewhat of a surprise following the March 1 grain stocks report which indicated of a higher disappearance than anticipated previously by the grain trade.
The projected August farm prices for corn remained unchanged, holding at $6.20, although the high and low end of the overall range adjusted slightly.
Globally, the report showed many revisions to previous production estimates, but the fluctuations upward and down negated one another. Thus, the overall global crop estimates remained steady. While the Argentine crop was reduced by half of a million metric tons, to 21.5 MMT total, estimates of Egyptian production increased by 1.7 MMT to 5.5 MMT total. While overall production estimates for Brazil remained steady, the projected demand from the feed sector was reduced by 500,000 metric tons and export demand estimates increased by the same amount.
The next edition of the reports, scheduled for release on May 10, will be the USDA's first projection of the 2012/2013 crop.