Market Matters Blog

Corn Exports Chart Path to Recovery

By Katie Micik

The U.S. is slowly gaining its share of the corn export market back. This morning's inspections report was slightly bullish as exports kept on pace to exceed USDA's export demand projection of 1.450 billion bushels.

Last year's high priced corn drove our major customers to the arms of our buyers, leaving many skeptical that they'd bring all their business back to the states. It will take several crop cycles to map out the long-term disruptions in trade flows, but sales data is a reason to hope that at least some the damage will be undone.

An interesting visual of the year-over-year shift landed in my email box late last week. The U.S. Grains Council put together a chart that combined corn exports with outstanding sales for the first four months of the marketing year. And guess what? We've already exceeded last year's total sales.

"In the first four months of the 2012/2013 corn marketing year, U.S. exports and outstanding sales totaled 13.2 million metric tons (520 million bushels) compared to 29.5 million tons (1.2 billion bushels) so far this year. At the end of the last marketing year, accumulated U.S. exports and outstanding sales totaled 18.9 million tons (744 million bushels)."

The Grains Council chart breaks the sales down by country, and you can check it out here:….

And while exports are picking up the pace, this year's big corn crop will also help pork producers have one of their most profitable years in a decade, a recent article in National Hog Farmer magazine explained.

It cost an average of $67 per live hundredweight to raise a hog in 2012 and $64 per hundredweight in 2013. That's likely to fall to $56 per hundredweight in 2014, Purdue University ag economist Chris Hurt said. Profits could reach $27 per head, and lower feed prices play a large part.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports the number of market hogs to be down fractionally in 2014, but weights are expected to run about 2% higher and result in a 1 to 2% increase in pork production for the first half of 2014," Hurt said. "Farrowing intentions for this winter and coming spring are up 1 to 2%. With pigs per litter about 1.5% higher and higher weights, pork production in the last half of 2014 will be up 3%.

But will the PEDv outbreak mire the increase in pork production? It's something that's on farmers minds. The Iowa Pork Congress gets underway this week, and DTN reporter Russ Quinn will be reporting on it from Des Moines. I'll be interested in what pork producers have to say about expansion.

For the National Hog Farmer article:…


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doug taylor 2/6/2014 | 10:46 AM CST
How do you explain the small drop in imports to Japan between 2012 and 2013 according to the Feed Grain Council Charts? If you really believe "last years high prices drove our customers to the arms of other buyers"? Do you really think people stopped eating or do people in fact go hungry. It seems a major Japanese export firm brought the export elevation in New Orleans after Cook Industries went bankrupt several years ago - something about being on the wrong side of Bunker Hunt in the soybean pit in Chicago? To say the vary least we like not have and embargo to drive down prices. I think, Katie, you pointed out and old grain fable?
Freeport IL 1/24/2014 | 3:27 PM CST
Political turmoil in grain exporting countries may allow the US to export more than expected. The structural nature of the unrest will likely take years to smooth out. May be exports will move to record levels in a year or two. High heating bill look to "sock" consumer demand. Watch out for cold storage report. Freeport, IL