ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture at its annual Agricultural Outlook Forum Feb. 21-22 projected lower soybean production in 2019 from 2018 but higher wheat and corn outturn, with lower carryover in 2020 from 2019 for all three commodities.

Production of all wheat in 2019 was forecast at 1.902 billion bushels, up 1% from 1.884 billion bushels in 2018. Higher spring wheat plantings are expected to offset the lowest winter wheat seedings since 1909 estimated in the USDA’s Feb. 8 Winter Wheat and Canola Seedings report.

USDA wheat

“The 2019-20 outlook for U.S. wheat is for reduced supplies, minimally lower use and decreased ending stocks,” the USDA said in comments released with the new forecasts. “Higher expected net returns for spring wheat compared to soybeans in the Northern Plains is anticipated to result in greater spring wheat plantings in 2019 with total wheat acreage projected at 47 million acres, down 2% from last year.”

The average wheat yield was projected at 47.8 bushels per acre, up 0.2 bushels from 2018.

June 1, 2020, carryover of wheat was projected at 944 million bushels, down 7% from the 2018 forecast of 1.010 billion bushels. Despite the higher production forecast, total supply was forecast at 3.052 billion bushels, down 2.3% due to lower beginning stocks. Total wheat use in 2019-20 was forecast at 2.108 billion bushels, down 5 million bushels from 2018-19 as lower exports, projected at 975 million bushels, down 25 million bushels from the current-year forecast, more than offset higher food and feed use.

USDA corn

The USDA projected 2019 corn production at 14.890 billion bushels, up 3.3% from the 2018 estimate and the second highest on record if realized as larger planted area more than offset an expected decline in average yield.

Carryover of corn on Sept. 1, 2020, was forecast at 1.650 billion bushels, down 4.9% from the current year forecast, as lower beginning stocks and higher feed use and exports (forecast at 2.475 billion bushels, up 25 million bushels from 2018-19) more than offset higher production. Use of corn for ethanol was projected at 5.575 billion bushels, unchanged from the 2018-19 forecast, with projected food and seed use also unchanged at 1.465 billion bushels.

The USDA projected 2019 soybean production at 4.175 billion bushels, down 8% from record outturn of 4.544 billion bushels in 2018 and the lowest since 3.927 billion bushels in 2015, if realized. Both planted area and average soybean yield were projected lower from 2018.

USDA soybean

Total soybean supply in 2019-20 was projected at a record 5.105 billion bushels, up 2.1% from 5.002 billion bushels forecast for 2018-19, which is the current record. But higher domestic soybean use, including forecast record crush at 2.105 billion bushels, up 0.7% from 5.002 billion bushels this year, the current record, and higher projected exports, projected at 2.025 billion bushels, up 8% from the current year, are expected to reduce soybean carryover on Sept. 1, 2020, to 845 million bushels, down 7% from 2019.

 “The 2019-20 outlook for U.S. soybeans is for record supplies, higher crush and exports and lower ending stocks,” the USDA said. “Soybean exports for 2019-20 are projected at 2.03 billion bushels, up 150 million from the 2018-19 forecast. With rising global demand and reduced supplies in Brazil this fall, some recovery in U.S. exports is expected despite continued import duties assumed for U.S. soybeans in China.”