WASDE REPORT OFFERS FEW CHANGES FOR CORN AND SOYBEANS
The March 8 USDA World Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report did not have many significant changes from the February WASDE report. The biggest change was a slight reduction in expected 2023-24 corn export levels, along with a corresponding increase in estimated corn ending stocks at the end of the current marketing year. The 2023-24 ending stocks for corn, soybeans, and wheat are all expected to increase significantly from a year earlier. All eyes will now be on the USDA 2024 Prospective Planting and Grain Stocks reports that will be released on March 31, as well as early season growing conditions in the Midwest.

CORN
The latest WASDE report continued to show the total 2023 U.S. corn production at the record level of 15.34 billion bushels, which was considerably higher than the 13.65 bushels produced in 2022, and compares to production levels of just over 15 billion bushels in 2021 and 14.1 billion bushels in 2020. The recent USDA report also showed that the total demand for corn usage in 2023-24 at just over 14.5 billion bushels, which compares to corn usage levels of 13.7 billion bushels in 2022-23 and 14.9 billion bushels in 2021-22. Corn export sales for the current year are now estimated at 2.1 billion bushels, which was unchanged from the February estimate and compares to export levels of 1.66 billion bushels in 2022-23 and 2.47 billion bushels in 2021-22. USDA estimated the total corn used for ethanol production in 2023-24 at 5.37 billion bushels and the total corn used for livestock feed at 5.67 billion bushels, both of which are slightly higher than levels in the 2022-23 marketing year.

USDA is now estimating 2023-2024 U.S. corn ending stocks at 2.172 billion bushels, which is the same as the February WASDE report and would be at the highest level in recent years. The 2023-24 corn ending stocks compare to a carry-out levels of 1.36 billion bushels in 2022-23 and 1.377 bushels in 2021-22. The corn stocks-to-use ratio for 2023-24 is estimated at 14.9 percent, which is a substantial increase from the stocks-to-use ratios of 9.9 percent in 2022-23 and 9.2 percent in 2021-22. The current stocks-to-use ratio is more comparable to the corn stocks-to-use ratios of 13.7 percent for 2019-20, 14.6 percent for 2018-19, and 14.5 percent in 2017-18. This means that any rallies in the cash corn market in the coming months may be short-lived, unless weather issues develop during the 2024 growing season that could result significant reductions in U.S. corn production.

USDA is currently estimating the U.S average on-farm cash corn price for the 2023-2024 marketing year at $4.75 per bushel, which was decreased by $.05 per bushel from the February estimate. The projected 2023-24 market year average (MYA) corn price is a decline of $1.79 per bushel from a year ago and represents the lowest estimated WASDE corn price since the 2020-21 marketing year. The projected 2023-24 average price compares to recent national average corn prices of $6.54 per bushel in 2022-23, $6.00 per bushel for 2021-22, $4.53 per bushel in 2020-21, $3.57 per bushel for 2019-20, and $3.61 per bushel for 2018-19. The 2023-2024 WASDE price estimates are the expected average farm-level prices for corn and soybeans from September 1, 2023, through August 31, 2024; however, they do not represent the average prices for either the 2023 or the 2024 calendar year.

SOYBEANS
The latest USDA report kept the total U.S. soybean production estimate for 2023 at 4.165 billion bushels, which compares to final the 2022 soybean production level of 4.27 billion bushels and 4.46 billion bushels in 2021. The recent WASDE report estimates total soybean demand at 4.144 billion bushels for the 2023-24 marketing year, which is a decrease of 161 million bushels from the 2022-23 total usage level and was 319 million bushels below 2021-22 soybean demand levels. Expected soybean export levels for 2023-24 are estimated at 1.72 billion bushels, which compares to export levels of 1.99 billion bushels in 2022-23 and 2.15 billion bushels in 2021-22. Soybean crush levels are expected to increase slightly in 2023-24 compared to crush levels in the two previous years.
The U.S. soybean ending stocks for the 2023-24 marketing year in the latest WASDE report are estimated at 315 million bushels, which is the same as the February WASDE report. The projected 2023-24 soybean ending stocks compare to recent year-end carryout levels of 264 million bushels in 2022-23, 274 million bushels for 2021-22, 257 million bushels for 2020-21, and 525 million bushels for 2019-20. The projected soybean ending stocks for the current year would be highest in the past four years but would still be considerably below 913 million bushel carry-out level in 2018-19, which was during the U.S. trade war with China.

The soybean stocks-to-use ratio for 2023-24 is now estimated at 7.6 percent, which is an increase from the low ratios of 6.1 percent in both 2022-23 and 2021-22, as well as 5.7 percent in 2020-21. The projected 2023-24 ratio is still considerably lower than other recent soybean stocks-to-use ratios of 23 percent for 2018-19 and 13.3 percent for 2019-20. The lowest soybean stocks-to-use level in recent times at 2.6 percent in 2013. The continued rather tight soybean supply may offer some opportunities for some improvement in cash soybean prices in the coming months, especially if South America soybean production levels are lower than expected or if drought conditions develop in a significant portion of the primary U.S. soybean production areas in 2024.

USDA is now projecting the U.S. average farm-level soybean price for the 2023-2024 marketing year at $12.65 per bushel, which is unchanged the February estimate. The estimated 2023-24 market year average soybean price is a decline of $1.55 per bushel from the final MYA price a year ago and would be the lowest average price since the 2020-21 marketing year. The 2023-24 price estimate compares to other recent yearly average soybean prices of $14.20 per bushel in 2022-23, $13.30 per bushel in 2021-22, $10.80 per bushel in 2020-21, $8.57 per bushel for 2019-20, and $8.48 per bushel for 2018-19.

WHEAT
For the past two years, grain marketing analysts had their eyes on Eastern Europe following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. However, as the Russian war in Ukraine continues, the rest of the World seems to have somewhat adjusted to this scenario as it relates to the global wheat market. Ukraine and Russia accounted for nearly 30 percent of global wheat exports prior to the initiation of the war in early 2022. The ongoing war will likely continue to greatly reduce wheat production in Ukraine and will continue to impact grain trade in Eastern Europe. Global demand for wheat is currently quite solid and the projected global wheat ending stocks are at their tightest level since 2015-16, which may offer some wheat export opportunities for the U.S. in the coming months.

The March 8 WASDE report estimated the total 2023-24 U.S. wheat supply at just under 2.527 billion bushels, which compares to over 2.446 billion bushels a year ago. The total projected U.S. wheat usage for 2023-24 is estimated at 1.854 billion bushels, which is down 15 million bushels from the February estimate and matches the projected decline in 2023-24 wheat export levels. The latest report projected the U.S. wheat ending stocks for 2023-24 at 673 million bushels, which compares to 570 million bushels in 2022-23, 674 million bushels in 2021-22 and 845 million bushels in 2020-21.

The 2023-24 farm-level average wheat price is now projected at $7.15 per bushel, which is down $.05 per bushel from the February estimated price. The 2023-24 wheat price estimate compares to other recent MYA price levels of $8.83 in 2022-23, $7.63 per bushel in 2021-22, $5.05 per bushel in 2020-21, $4.58 per bushel in 2019-20, and $5.16 per bushel in 2018-19. The MYA price for wheat and other small grains is the average farm-level price in the U.S. from June 1 until May 31 each year.

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Note — For additional information contact Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst, Green Solutions
                 Phone — (507) 381-7960; E-mail — kentthiesse@gmail.com