USDA forecasts smaller U.S. corn, soybean crops in 2015

USDA forecasts smaller U.S. corn, soybean crops in 2015

Corn seen at 13.6 billion bu., soybeans at 3.80 billion.

UPDATED: This story now contains livestock and cotton information, latest update 7:15 a.m. CST

Lower crop prices will have U.S. farmers producing fewer corn and soybeans in 2015, but the decline in soybean production will be limited because its lower production costs relative to other crops may have growers retaining much of that acreage, USDA said on Friday.

Corn production was put at 13.595 billion bushels, down from 2014’s 14.216 billion and soybeans were seen at 3.80 billion versus 2014’s 3.969 billion, USDA said on the second day of its annual Agriculture Outlook Forum.

Farmers predicted to plant fewer acres in 2015, cutting corn and soybean crop.

On Thursday, USDA had forecast lower planted acreages for both crops, with corn at 89 million acres and soybeans at 83.5 million. Average yields were lowered from 2014’s records as USDA expects a return to trend averages and that put corn at 166.8 bushels per acre and soybeans at 46.

Ending stocks for corn were trimmed to 1.687 billion from 2014’s 1.827 billion, while soybean stocks were raised to 430 million from 385 million. The increase in soybeans was due to larger beginning stocks as USDA raised estimates for exports and the crush.

“USDA’s forecast for soybean ending stocks is too low at 430 million bushels, due to their low acreage forecast of 83.5 million,” said Bryce Knorr, Farm Futures’ senior grain analyst. “The market’s still may feel the need to buy a few acres, which could be positive for prices into March.”

.Wheat production for 2015 was put at 2.125 billion bushels, versus 2014’s 2.026 billion. Ending stocks went to 763 billion from 692 billion. Higher yields and less abandonment should lift production, despite fewer acres, USDA said.

Large global supplies of corn and wheat and a larger year-end soybean supply has USDA expecting lower crop prices, with the corn average at $3.50 per bushel, soybeans at  $9, and wheat at $5.10.

“The corn and wheat numbers are in line with the one’s we’ve published since we first surveyed growers on their planting intentions for 2015 last summer,” said Knorr. “However, USDA’s average price forecast for corn of $3.50 looks too bearish to me, especially with lower production in South America and the Black Sea region.”

More Meat

More pork and poultry should drive a 3.2% increase in total U.S. meat production this year, which would be the largest year-over-year production rise since 2002.

Beef production will be down slightly as cattle producers divert more heifers into breeding herds rather than send them to slaughter plants. Beef exports are seen down 4.8% at 2.5 billion pounds due to tight beef supplies and a stronger dollar.

Pork producers appear to have PEDv under control, which should lead to more pork. More chicken and turkey production is expected due to higher prices in 2014 and to consumers moving away from higher-priced beef.

U.S. cotton production is forecast at 14 million bales, down from 16.1 million in 2014, as planted acres may be down 12%.

You can dig into all the data USDA is offering at

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