Kent Thiesse mug

Kent Thiesse

The latest USDA crop production report and the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report were both released on February 8. These reports were originally scheduled to be released in mid-January; however, they were delayed by the partial shutdown of the Federal government. The latest WASDE report showed a slight decrease in projected 2018-19 ending stocks for both corn and soybeans, compared to the last WASDE estimates in December, 2018. Following are some highlights from the latest USDA WASDE and crop production reports:

Corn WASDE Summary

Based on the January WASDE and USDA crop production report, total U.S. corn production for 2018 is estimated at just over 14.4 billion bushels, which is just below the 2017 total production of 14.6 billion bushels. The record U.S. corn production of 15.1 billion bushels occurred in 2016. The 81.7 million harvest acres of corn in the U.S. in 2018 compares 82.7 million acres in 2017 and 86.7 million acres in 2016.

The 2018-19 corn ending stocks are projected to decline significantly from ending stock levels in the previous two years. The 2018-19 ending stocks are estimated at 1.73 billion bushels, which is similar to 2015-16 levels, and compares to 2.14 billion bushels in 2017-18 and 2.29 billion bushels in 2016-17. USDA expects total corn usage for 2018-19 to be up slightly from a year earlier, with small increases in the amount of corn utilized for feed and exports, but a slight reduction in the amount of corn used in ethanol production.

USDA is estimating the 2018-19 farm-level market year average (MYA) corn price in a range of $3.35-$3.85 per bushel, or an average of about $3.60 per bushel. This compares to recent 12-month MYA corn prices of $3.36 per bushel in both 2017-18 and 2016-17, $3.61 per bushel in 2015-16, and $3.70 per bushel for 2014-15. The corn and soybean MYA price for the 2018-19 crop year is based on the monthly average crop prices from September 1, 2018 through August 31, 2019, with the MYA prices finalized on September 30, 2019.

Soybean WASDE Summary

According to the latest WASDE report, total U.S. soybean production for 2018 is estimated at 4.54 billion bushels which compares 4.41 billion bushels in 2017-18 and 4.3 billion bushels in 2016-17. The total harvested U.S. soybean acreage in 2018 was estimated at 88.1 million acres, which is below the record level of 89.5 million acres in 2017, but far surpasses the 2016 level of 82.7 million harvested acres.

USDA is projecting 2018-19 soybean ending stocks to be 910 million bushels, which is more than double the 438 million bushel ending stocks in 2017-18, and is triple the final ending stocks of 302 million bushels in 2016-17. Soybean export levels are projected to decline nearly 12 percent in 2018-19 compared to a year earlier, primarily due to the ongoing trade conflict between the U.S. and China. Soybean exports to China account have accounted for approximately one-third of total U.S. soybean production in recent years prior to 2018-19.

USDA is estimating the 2018-19 MYA soybean price in a range of $8.10-$9.10 per bushel, or an average of about $8.60 per bushel. This compares to recent 12-month final MYA soybean prices of $9.33 per bushel in 2017-18, $9.47 per bushel in 2016-17, and $8.95 per bushel in 2015-16. If achieved, the 2018-19 soybean MYA price of $8.60 per bushel would be at the lowest level in a decade, since 2008-2009.

2018 Corn Yield Summary

Based on the January USDA crop production report, the U.S. national average corn yield for 2018 is estimated to be 176.4 bushels per acre, which would be just below the previous record corn yield of 176.6 bushels per acre in 2017. Other recent national average corn yields are 174.6 bushels per acre in 2016, 168.4 bushels per acre in 2015, 171 bushels per acre in 2014, and 158.1 bushels per acre in 2013. The January statewide 2018 average corn yield estimates were lowered in nearly every Midwestern State except Illinois and North Dakota, as compared to the December estimates.

The 2018 average corn yield for Minnesota is estimated at 182 bushels per acre, which is at the lowest level in the past four years. The reduced corn yields in Minnesota last year were mainly due to the very low yields in portions of Southwest and South Central Minnesota that resulted from the excessive rainfall during the 2018 growing season. The 2018 statewide corn yield is down considerably from the state record corn yield of 194 bushels per acre in 2017, 193 bushels per acre in 2016, and 188 bushels per acre in 2015, but far surpasses the 156 bushel per acre yield level in 2014.

The 2018 Iowa average corn yield is projected at 196 bushels per acre, which is down from an average yield of 202 bushels per acre in 2017, and is well below the record statewide yield of 203 bushels per acre in 2016. Average 2018 corn yields from other major corn producing States included: Illinois at 210 bushels per acre, up from 201 bushels per acre in 2017; Indiana at 189 bushels per acre, up from 180 bushels per acre a year ago; and Nebraska at 192 bushels per acre, up from 181 bushels per acre in 2017. Corn yields for 2018 from other Upper Midwestern States were South Dakota at 160 bushels per acre, up from 145 bushels per acre in 2017; North Dakota at 153 bushels per acre, up from 139 bushels per acre a year ago; and Wisconsin at 172 bushels per acre, down from 174 bushels per acre in 2017.

2018 Soybean Yield Summary

Based on the USDA report, the 2018 U.S. national average soybean yield is estimated at 51.6 bushels per acre, which is just below the previous record soybean yield of 51.9 bushels per acre in 2016, but is above the 2017 national average yield of 49.3 bushels per acre. Other recent national average soybean yields are 48 bushels per acre in 2015, 47.5 bushels per acre in 2014, and 44 bushels per acre in 2013. The estimated average 2018 soybean yield in Minnesota was 50.5 bushels per acre, which is an increase from 47.5 bushels per acre in 2017; however, it trails the State record yield of 52 bushels per acre in 2016.

The 2018 average soybean yield in Iowa is estimated at 57 bushels per acre, which matches the 2017 average yield, but is below the record yield of 60 bushels per acre in 2016. The estimated 2018 average soybean yields in other major production States are Illinois at an impressive 65 bushels per acre, compared to 58 bushels per acre in 2017; Indiana at 58.5 bushels per acre, up from 54 bushels per acre in 2017; and Nebraska at 59 bushels per acre, up from 57.5 bushels per acre in 2017. Soybean yield estimates for 2018 also included South Dakota at 46 bushels per acre, up from 43 bushels per acre in 2017; North Dakota at 35.5 bushels per acre, up from 34.5 bushels per acre in 2017; and Wisconsin at 49 bushels per acre, up from 47.5 bushels per acre in 2017.

For additional information contact Kent Thiesse, farm management analyst and senior vice president, MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, Minn., at (507) 381-7960 or kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com, or visit www.minnstarbank.com.

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