WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture on June 11 adjusted its 2019-20 corn supply and demand forecasts to reflect significant decreases in projected plantings and yields for the 2019 crop. The USDA in its June World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report forecast corn planted area in 2019 at 89.8 million acres, down 3 million acres from what producers intended to plant as indicated in the Prospective Plantings report issued at the end of March. Harvested area for corn in 2019 was projected at 82.4 million acres, down 3 million from the May projection but up 0.7 million acres from 2018. The average corn yield in 2019 was projected at 166 bushels per acre, down 10 bushels per acre from the May outlook and down 10.4 bushels per acre from 2018. It would be the lowest corn yield since 158.1 bushels per acre in 2013.
As a result of the lowered harvested area and yield projections, the USDA lowered its forecast for 2019 corn production to 13.680 billion bushels, down 1.350 billion bushels, or 9%, from its initial outlook for 2019 at 15.030 billion bushels. As projected, the 2019 corn outturn would be down 740 million bushels, or 5%, from 14.420 billion bushels in 2018. The 2019 crop was projected to be the smallest since 13.602 billion bushels in 2015 and would compare with 14.399 billion bushels as the recent five-year average outturn.
“Unprecedented planting delays observed through early June are expected to prevent some plantings and reduce yield prospects,” the USDA said in commentary accompanying its June WASDE report.
The USDA in its weekly Crop Progress report indicated the 2019 corn crop was 83% planted by June 9 compared with 67% a week earlier and 99% as the recent five-year average for the date. Corn emergence was 62% versus 93% as the average for the date. The USDA’s initial crop condition rating for corn in 2019 was 59% good to excellent (77% a year earlier), 32% fair, 7% poor and 2% very poor.
The lower crop forecast required significant adjustments to the USDA’s corn supply and demand forecasts for 2019-20.
The USDA forecast the carryover of corn on Sept. 1, 2020, at 1.675 billion bushels, down 810 million bushels, or 33%, from the May projection and down 520 million bushels, or 24%, from the upwardly revised forecast of 2.195 billion bushels in 2019. As projected, the 2020 corn carryover would be the smallest since 1.232 billion bushels in 2014 and compare with the recent five-year carryover at 2.019 billion bushels.
The corn supply in 2019-20 was projected at 15.925 billion bushels, down 1.235 billion bushels, or 7%, from 17.610 billion bushels as the May outlook and down 670 million bushels, or 4%, from an estimated 16.595 billion bushels in 2018-19 and would constitute the smallest corn supply since 15.401 billion bushels in 2015-16.
The USDA. projected feed and residual use of corn in 2019-20 at 5.150 billion bushels, down 300 million bushels from the May projection and down 150 million bushels from the forecast for the current year at 5.3 billion bushels. The lower feed projection was tied to a forecast increase in feed use of wheat in 2019-20.
The USDA projected use of corn for ethanol production in 2019-20 at 5.500 billion bushels, unchanged from May and up 50 million from the forecast for 2018-19 at 5.450 billion bushels. Food, seed and industrial use (excluding ethanol) was projected at 1.450 billion bushels, unchanged from the May projection and the same as the forecast for 2018-19.
The USDA projected corn exports in 2019-20 at 2.150 billion bushels, down 125 million bushels from the May projection and down 50 million bushels from the forecast for 2018-19 at 2.2 billion bushels.
The average farm price of corn in 2019-20 was projected at $3.80 a bushel, up 50¢ from the May projection and up 20¢ from the forecast for the current year.
The corn supply-and-demand outlook for 2019-20 was viewed as tentative as many in the trade expected the USDA to lower its estimates of corn planted and harvested areas in subsequent reports.
The next USDA forecast for corn area will be presented in the annual Acreage report, which will be issued on June 28 and reflect a survey of producers taken during the first couple of weeks of June.
Also of note, the trade widely expected many acres that could not be planted to corn this year to be switched to soybeans, which may be planted later than corn. But the USDA in its June WASDE made no adjustments to its projections for soybean planted area and harvest area at 84.6 million acres and 83.8 million acres, respectively. It was expected the USDA will adjust its soybean planted and harvested area forecasts in the June 28 Acreage report and in the July WASDE.