US on track for record corn crop

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/dannyone
© iStock/dannyone

Related tags Corn Maize

US corn crop looks to set a new record and beat the output levels of 2014 by 324m bushels says the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The forecast was made in the USDA’s Feed Outlook report​.

“The national average corn yield for 2016 is projected at 168 bushels per acre based on a weather-adjusted trend model,”​ the agency said. “If realized, the crop would reach 14,540m bushels, 110m above last month’s projection and 939m over last year’s crop, besting the record 2014 crop by 324m bushels.”

US ending stocks in corn have been raised as prices are expected to drop, the USDA said. Globally however, total corn production and use for 2016-17 are anticipated to decline.

“World corn consumption and trade are both projected lower for 2016-17 as larger supplies of competitively priced wheat reduce global corn feeding and import demand,” ​the agency said. “US corn exports, however, are projected higher with reduced supplies and competition from Brazil.”


Area for corn to be harvested in 2016 has been increased in the US to 86.6m acres while expected yield remains at 168 bushels an acre, the agency said.

Ending stocks for the 2016/17 season are expected to increase as larger supplies trump potential increase in use, said the USDA. The mid-point farm price range has been lowered for 2015-16 and 2016-17.

“Compared to the 2015 crop, total acreage harvested for grain is projected up 5.8 million acres, an increase of 7%,” ​said the agency. “The largest increase is in the Plains, followed by the Corn Belt. No region reported a decline in expected harvested acreage.”

Globally, corn production for 2015-16 has been lowered, as a 7.5m ton reduction in crop is expected to be seen in Brazil, the agency said. Global corn production for 2016-17 has also been lowered based on crops in Brazil and Canada.

Corn exports however have been increased by 75m bushes for 2015-16, the agency said. US crops have become more competitive as crop production dropped in Brazil.

“For 2016-17, exports are raised 100m bushels to 2,050m,” ​the agency said. “If realized, this would be the highest export level since 2007, when exports totaled 2,437m bushels.”

Feed grains

Other US feed grains also are projected to be higher than initial reports, said the USDA. Sorghum and oats have seen an uptick in forecast acreage, although yield per acre has remained more consistent.

“Total feed grain production is expected at 385.1 million tons, compared with 366.6 million in 2015,” ​the agency said. Feed grain supplies for 2016-17 have been raised by 2.7m tons to 435.6m tons, while supplies for 2015-16 are set at 417.1m tons, it added.

However, reductions in expected domestic feed grain use are predicted to be offset by an increase in exports in July, said the USDA. Feed and residual use for 2016-17 has been reduced by 1.3m tons.

“With feed grain exports up 2.5m tons to 58m, total use advances 0.8m tons to 378.8m, 9.2m higher than 2015-16,”​ the agency said.

Overall, feed grain use is expected to be up by to 151.7m metric tons as an increase in wheat feeding and residual use balance out the drop in corn feed, the agency said.

World course grain consumption is expected to grow in 2016-17, the agency said. But consumption has dropped in several countries including China where more feed wheat is expected on the market.

“Grain consuming animal units (GCAUs) for 2016-17 are projected at 95.1 million units this month, down slightly from 95.3 million last month,” ​said the USDA.  “Feed and residual use per GCAU is projected at 1.60 tons per GCAU this month, up from last month’s 1.56 tons per GCAU.”

Projected sorghum planting has been increased by about 7.2m acres with harvested area larger than initially expected, the agency said. Projected feed and residual use has been increased by 10m bushels for 2015-16, which is expected to drop carryout amounts.

Supplies for 2016-17 have been increased as lower carryin amount is offset by increased production, the agency said. Crop price is being drive by expected corn supplies and has been reduced to a range of $3.25 to $3.35 for 2015-16 and a range of $2.85 to 3.45 for 2016-17.

“A total of 88.3 million bushels were held in all positions on June 1,” ​said the USDA. “This compares to the 34.3 million bushels held on the same date a year earlier. The large 2015 crop combined with slowing demand from China has resulted in the stocks buildup.”

Starting supplies of barley are larger than they were at this point last year, but supply has been lowered, the agency said. Feed use is also expected to be down for 2015-16 and the farm price forecast has been dropped for 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Area planted and to be harvested in oats grew by about 276,000 acres with supply set to increase by about 7m bushels, the agency said. Total stocks are about 3m bushels larger than what was in storage at this point last year and prices have been dropped for both 2015-16 and 2016-17. 

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