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Sept. 1 Grain Stocks Lead Off Friday's USDA Reports

Todd Hultman
By  Todd Hultman , DTN Lead Analyst
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USDA will release its quarterly Grain Stocks and Small Grains Summary reports Friday. (USDA logo)

At 11 a.m. CDT on Friday, Sept. 29, USDA will issue its Grain Stocks report for Sept. 1 and Small Grains Summary, a combination that will likely get quick attention from traders, watching for a possible surprise.


As I often try to explain, USDA's quarterly grain stocks reports are, pound for pound, the most meaningful and straightforward assessments of U.S. grain supplies USDA provides, but no reports are perfect. As USDA explained in last year's report, 56,000 producer surveys were conducted in the first two weeks of September, asking producers to report the amount of grain on their operation as of Sept. 1. Efforts are made to get reports from all commercial grain facilities, but USDA has to estimate amounts where actual responses fall short. In the case of corn and soybeans, Sept. 1 stocks are the ending stocks of the 2022-23 season, subject to possible revision (usually small) in the next Grain Stocks report in January.

Calling on 14 private analysts to give us their best estimates of what USDA will say Friday, Dow Jones' survey expects USDA to find 1.433 billion bushels (bb) of ending corn stocks for the 2022-23 season, the most in three years, if true. Estimates ranged from 1.320 bb to 1.487 bb, but only three of the 14 analysts estimated an amount less than 1.400 bb.

You may recall corn stocks came in 155 million bushels (mb) below Dow Jones' estimate on June 30, and the national basis in corn was historically the strongest in over 20 years up until the end of May. If there is a surprise in Friday's reports, it may be that USDA posts a lower-than-expected total for Sept. 1 corn stocks. One thing that makes estimating this report difficult is that it also includes crops from early Southern harvests. For example, as of Aug. 27, corn harvest progress was 53% complete in Texas, 97% in Louisiana and 44% in Mississippi.

For soybeans, Dow Jones' survey expects USDA to find 244 mb of soybeans on hand as of Sept. 1, the lowest ending stocks in seven years, if true. Estimates ranged from 216 mb to 270 mb, and nine of the 14 estimates were above 240 mb. Soybean totals are also susceptible to early harvest activity. As of Aug. 27, the soybean harvest was 19% finished in Louisiana and 4% complete in Mississippi.

For wheat, Sept. 1 stocks represent the amount of wheat left in 2023-24 after one quarter of demand. Dow Jones' analysts expect USDA to peg wheat stocks at 1.774 bb, very close to amounts the previous two years. Estimates ranged from 1.710 bb to 1.852 bb, but only four of the 14 estimates were 1.800 bb or higher.


USDA's Small Grains Summary includes production estimates for the various classes of wheat, as well as for oats and barley. Dow Jones asked analysts for their best wheat production estimates, and the response for all U.S. wheat production was 1.731 bb, down slightly from USDA's August estimate of 1.734 bb. Hard red winter wheat production was expected at 583 mb, down 2 mb from August. Soft red winter wheat was expected at 440 mb, the same as in August. White winter wheat was expected at 201 mb, down 1 mb from August. Other spring wheat was expected at 448 mb, down 2 mb from August, and durum was expected at 57 mb, the same as USDA's August estimate. Overall, it is difficult to disagree with minor changes this late in the harvest season, but there is a chance spring wheat production could end up a little higher than expected.

Last year's report explained USDA interviewed 56,000 producers in the first two weeks of September, conducted in 10 states that account for 71% of winter wheat production. Objective field data was also included in the process. If any revisions are to be made, they will happen in NASS' Crop Production Annual Summary in January.


Join us Friday for DTN's 12:30 p.m. CDT webinar. We will discuss USDA's latest numbers and what they mean for market prices. Given the history of USDA's late-September reports, there may be at least one surprise to talk about. Register now at:….

QUARTERLY STOCKS (million bushels)
9/1/23 Avg High Low 6/1/23 9/1/22
Corn 1,433 1,487 1,320 4,106 1,377
Soybeans 244 270 216 796 274
Wheat 1,774 1,852 1,710 580 1,778
U.S. PRODUCTION (Million Bushels) 2023-24
Sep Avg High Low Aug 2022
All Wheat 1731 1,757 1,689 1,734 1,650
Winter 1223 1,245 1,207 1,227 1,104
HRW 583 595 570 585 531
SRW 440 455 426 440 337
White 201 210 196 202 236
Durum 448 467 425 450 482
Other 57 63 55 57 64

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Todd Hultman