USDA Reports Summary

USDA Releases Slew of Current and Delayed Production, Stocks Estimates

USDA on Friday released the February Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports as well as the Crop Production Annual Summary, Grain Stocks and Winter Wheat Seedings reports, which were delayed from January due to the partial government shutdown. (Logo courtesy of USDA)

This article was originally posted at 11:03 a.m. CST. It was last updated at 12:18 p.m. CST

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OMAHA (DTN) -- USDA on Friday pegged 2018 corn production at 14.4 billion bushels with a national average yield of 176.4 bushels per acre, down 2.5 bpa from USDA's November estimate. It's 0.2 bpa below last year and within the range of pre-report expectations.

Farmers harvested a record 4.54 bb of soybeans, up 3% from 2017. At 51.6 bpa, the national average yield estimate was half a bushel lower than USDA's last estimate, but 2.3 bpa above last year and only 0.3 bpa below the all-time record.

As of Dec. 1, 2018, USDA said corn stocks totaled 12 billion bushels, down 5% from last year. It was slightly below the average pre-report estimate of 12.1 billion bushels.

Soybean stocks, at 3.74 billion bushels, were up 18% from last year. The estimate was within the range of pre-report estimates.

In South America, USDA estimates Brazilian farmers will harvest 117 million metric tons of soybeans, 5 mmt below USDA's previous 122 mmt estimate.

It anticipates Argentina farmers will collect 55 mmt of soybeans, 0.5 mmt lower than its previous estimate.

USDA expects China to import 88 mmt of soybeans in the 2018-19 marketing year, down from its December estimate of 90 mmt.

Friday's new U.S. ending stocks estimates were neutral for corn, soybeans and wheat, said DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman. Friday's world ending stocks estimates were neutral for corn and wheat, but bullish for soybeans. The Grain Stocks report was bullish for corn and neutral for soybeans and wheat, he said.

Among the reports released on their regular schedule Friday were the February Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports. Three of the other reports released Friday -- the Crop Production Annual Summary, Grain Stocks and Winter Wheat Seedings -- were delayed due to the partial government shutdown. USDA skipped its January World Agricultural Supply and Demand report entirely, so figures throughout this article will compare back to December estimates.

Because DTN and other news outlets no longer have pre-release access to the reports, instead of one story, we are now sending a series of updates with each including more information as our analysts and reporters digest and analyze the new numbers.

Check this page throughout the morning for important highlights from the reports and commentary from our analysts on what the numbers mean.

For DTN's exclusive audio comments on Friday's reports, visit: http://listen.aghost.net/…

You can also access the full reports here:

-- Crop Production Annual Summary, Grain Stocks, and Winter Wheat Seedings: https://www.nass.usda.gov/…

-- World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE): http://www.usda.gov/…

CROP PRODUCTION ANNUAL SUMMARY

USDA pegged 2018 corn production at 14.4 billion bushels with a national average yield of 176.4 bushels per acre, a decrease of 2 mb and 2.5 bpa from USDA's November estimate, respectively. Farmers harvested 81.7 million acres, down 1% from 2017.

Farmers harvested 4.54 bb of soybeans, down 1 million bushels from its previous estimate. At 51.6 bpa, the national average yield estimate was 0.5 bpa below prior estimates. Harvested area was down 2% from last year at 88.1 million acres.

Sorghum production is estimated at 365 million bushels, up 1% from the previous year, with a national average yield of 72.1 bpa, up 0.4 bpa from 2017. Farmers harvested 5.69 million acres.

USDA estimated cotton production at 18.4 million bales, down 12% from 2017. The national average yield was 838 pounds per acre, down 67 lbs. from last year. Farmers harvested 10.5 million acres, down 5% from last year.

GRAIN STOCKS

Corn stocks totaled 11.95 billion bushels as of Dec. 1, 2018, with 7.45 bb stored on-farm and 4.5 bb stored in off-farm locations. Last year, farmers held 7.74 bb in on-farm and 4.78 billion in off-farm storage. September-to-November usage totaled 4.61 billion bushels, compared to 4.38 billion bushels during the same period last year.

USDA said 3.74 billion bushels of soybeans were in storage as of Dec. 1, with 1.94 bb stored on-farm and 1.8 bb stored off the farm. Last year, farmers held 1.49 bb on-farm and 1.67 bb off-farm. September-to-November usage totaled 1.25 billion bushels, down 20% from the same period last year.

All wheat stocks totaled 2 billion bushels, up 7% from the previous year, with 504 mb stored on-farm and 1.5 bb stored off-farm. Last year, farmers held 393 mb on-farm and 1.48 bb off-farm. September-to-November usage was 390 million bushels, 1% below the same period last year.

WINTER WHEAT SEEDINGS

Farmers planted 31.3 million acres to winter wheat this fall, compared to 32.5 ma last year and the average pre-report estimate of 32.0 ma. The winter wheat total is the lowest acreage figure since 1909.

USDA said area seeded to hard red winter wheat is expected to total 22.2 ma, down 3% from 2017.

Soft red winter wheat area, at 5.66 ma, is down 7% from last year.

Farmers planted 3.44 million acres to white winter wheat, a 3% decrease.

In Kansas and Oklahoma, USDA said farmers planted 65,000 acres to canola, 44% below last year.

WORLD AGRICULTURAL SUPPLY AND DEMAND

Corn:

USDA pegged domestic corn ending stocks for the 2018-19 marketing year at 1.735 billion bushels, down 46 million bushels from December 2018. It lowered ethanol use by 25 mb and trimmed feed and residual use by 125 mb. USDA left corn export estimates unchanged from the December report.

USDA narrowed the range of national average farm-gate prices by 10 cents at each end, to $3.35 to $3.85.

Global ending stocks for 2018-19, at 309.78 million metric tons (mmt), were up from 308.8 mmt in December 2018. The boost came mostly from increased production in Argentina and China, USDA said.

USDA estimates Brazilian farmers will harvest 94.5 mmt of corn, unchanged from December's estimate. It boosted Argentina production to 46 mmt, up from 42.5 mmt in December.

Soybeans:

USDA pegged domestic soybean ending stocks at 910 million bushels for the 2018-19 marketing year. It revised production down 56 million bushels to coincide with its final crop production estimate of 4.544 million bushels. It also raised crush by 10 mb, dropped exports by 25 mb, dropped residual use by 1 mb and left seed use unchanged.

The range of national average farm prices was dropped and narrowed to $8.10 to $9.10 per bushel.

Global ending stocks were estimated at 106.72 mmt, down from December's 115.33 mmt estimate. This downward revision is the result of changes to the historical balance sheets for Argentina dating back to 2009-10 and Brazil, dating back to 1999-2000.

USDA lowered Brazil's production estimate to 117 mmt from 122 mmt in December. In Argentina, USDA trimmed production to 55 mmt, down from 55.5 mmt from December.

China is expected to import 88 mmt of soybeans in the 2018-19 marketing year, down from USDA's prior estimate of 90 mmt in December.

Wheat:

USDA estimates domestic wheat ending stocks for the 2018-19 marketing year at 1.010 billion bushels, compared to its December estimate of 974 mb. The rise came from feed and residual use dropping by 30 mb and seed use dropping 6 mb.

The range of average farm-gate prices was left unchanged from December at $5.05 to $5.25.

Global ending stocks, at 267.53 mmt, is down from December's estimate of 268.1 mmt. USDA attributed the change to global use rising more than supplies, particularly the 2 mmt increase in China's feed and residual use.

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Editor's note: Join DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman at noon CST Friday, for a post-report webinar where he will be explaining what the day's numbers mean for grain prices. Sign up now for Friday's webinar at: https://dtn.webex.com/…

U.S. CROP PRODUCTION (Million Bushels) 2018-2019
Feb Avg High Low Dec 2017-18
Corn 14,420 14,509 14,602 14,363 14,626 14,604
Soybeans 4,544 4,558 4,592 4,490 4,600 4,411
All Wheat 1,884 1,884 1,740
QUARTERLY STOCKS (million bushels) as of 12/1/18
Dec 18 Avg High Low Sep 18 Dec 17
Corn 11,952 12,117 12,699 11,940 2,140 12,567
Soybeans 3,736 3,687 3,850 3,161 438 3,161
Wheat 1,999 1,952 2,005 1,873 2,379 1,873
U.S. ENDING STOCKS (Million Bushels) 2018-2019
Feb Avg High Low Dec 2017-18
Corn 1,735 1,714 1,858 1,550 1,781 2,140
Soybeans 910 920 996 800 955 438
Wheat 1,010 993 1,031 950 974 1,099
WORLD ENDING STOCKS (Million metric tons) 2018-2019
Feb Avg High Low Dec
Corn 309.8 307.5 311.6 305.0 308.8
Soybeans 106.7 113.9 122.6 109.0 115.3
Wheat 267.5 268.0 269.7 266.0 268.1
WORLD PRODUCTION (million metric tons)
2018-19 Avg High Low Jan 2017-18
WHEAT Feb
Argentina 19.2
Australia 17.0
CORN
Argentina 46.0 43.1 45.0 41.0 32.0
Brazil 94.5 93.3 95.5 91.5 82.0
SOYBEANS
Argentina 55.0 55.0 56.0 52.0 37.8
Brazil 117.0 116.3 119.0 112.2 120.3
WINTER WHEAT SEEDINGS (million acres) 2019-20
Feb Avg. High Low 2018-19
All Winter 31.3 32.0 33.2 31.5 32.5
Hard Red 22.2 22.5 23.6 21.9 22.9
Soft Red 5.7 5.9 6.2 5.6 6.1
White 3.4 3.5 4.0 3.2 3.5

(AG)