WASDE Coarse Grains: Record U.S. Feed Production

Harvested corn pouring into grain truck. Photo: University of Tennessee

The U.S. feed-grain outlook for 2020/21 is for record high production and domestic use, greater exports, and larger ending stocks.

The corn crop is projected at a record 16.0 billion bushels, up from last year on increased area and a return to trend yield. The yield projection of 178.5 bushels per acre is based on a weather-adjusted trend assuming normal planting progress and summer growing season weather, estimated using the 1988-2019 time period.

Despite beginning stocks that are down slightly from a year ago, total corn supplies are forecast record high at 18.1 billion bushels.

Total U.S. corn use in 2020/21 is forecast to rise relative to a year ago with increases for domestic use and exports. Food, seed, and industrial (FSI) use is projected to rise 245 million bushels to 6.6 billion. Corn used for ethanol is projected to increase from the 2019/20 COVID-19 reduced levels, based on expectations of a rebound in U.S. motor gasoline consumption.

Sorghum FSI for 2020/21 is lower as expectations of increased sorghum import demand from China reduce available domestic supplies. Corn feed and residual use is projected higher mostly reflecting a larger crop and lower expected prices.

U.S. 2020/21 corn exports are forecast to rise 375 million bushels to 2,150 million, driven by growth in world corn trade. U.S. market share is expected to increase from the 2019/20 multi-year low, but remains below the average level seen during 2015/16 to 2019/20 with expected competition from Argentina, Brazil, and Ukraine.

With total U.S. corn supply rising more than use, 2020/21 U.S. ending stocks are up 1.2 billion bushels from last year and if realized would be the highest since 1987/88. Stocks relative to use at 22.4 percent would be the highest since 1992/93. With larger stocks relative to use, the season-average farm price is projected at $3.20 per bushel, down 40 cents from 2019/20 and the lowest since 2006/07.

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The global coarse grain outlook for 2020/21 is for record production and use and larger ending stocks. World corn production is forecast record-high, with the largest increases for the United States, Brazil, Ukraine, Mexico, and Canada. Global corn use is expected to grow 4 percent, with foreign consumption up 3 percent. Global corn imports are projected to increase 4 percent.

Notable forecast increases in corn imports include the EU, Egypt, Mexico, Iran, Morocco, and Vietnam. Global corn ending stocks are up from a year ago, as a decline in foreign stocks is more than offset by an increase for the United States. Excluding China and the United States, ending stocks are up 4 percent relative to a year ago.

For China, total coarse grain imports are forecast at 18.3 million tons, up 1.3 million from 2019/20 but below the 2014/15 record of 25.7 million tons.

Since 2001/02, China’s largest individual coarse grain import total occurred during 2014/15 with 10.2 million tons of sorghum. Over that same time period realized corn imports reached a high of 5.5 million tons.

Expectations are for robust demand from China in 2020/21, with 7.0 million tons of corn, 6.0 million of barley, and 5.0 million of sorghum imports from all sources.

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