Tag Archives: grains

The final 2017/2018 marketing year’s numbers are out – and for the second year in a row, the United States has set a new record for exports of feed grains and co-products, led by higher corn and ethanol shipments.

Overall, the United States exported nearly 120 million metric tons of feed grains in all forms (GIAF), translating into roughly 4.75 billion bushels or a third of U.S. production. The marketing year’s exports increased six percent or 6.5 million tons (256 million bushels) above last year’s record-setting levels.

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“For U.S. grain producers, our 2017/2018 export performance was outstanding and above recently revised expectations due to particularly strong shipments in the second half of the marketing year,” said Mike Dwyer, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) chief economist. “U.S. agricultural producers saw international demand for their products – in one form or another – continue to rise. This export growth is vital to our feed grain producers who continue to see their yields and overall production rise amidst challenging trade policy conditions.”

Southern neighbor and trade agreement partner Mexico topped all other markets in GIAF imports, with total marketing year shipments growing 6.3 percent year-over-year to a new record of 25.2 million tons (almost 1 billion bushels in corn equivalent). By category, Mexico ranked as the largest buyer of U.S. corn, barley and dried distiller’s grains with solubles (DDGS), with sales in each category increasing from the prior year.

Japan was the second largest overall GIAF market overseas in 2017/2018 with shipments roughly unchanged from last year at 16.9 million tons (665 million bushels). Japan ranked as the second largest buyer of U.S. corn and U.S. sorghum, the third largest buyer of U.S. barley and the ninth largest market for U.S. DDGS.

South Korea rounded out the top three overall importers, increasing purchases of U.S. feed grains and co-products by 11.8 percent to 9.33 million tons (367 million bushels) – a new record. Notably, South Korea ranked as second largest buyer of U.S. DDGS, the third largest buyer of U.S. corn and sixth largest buyer of U.S. ethanol in addition to significant sales of U.S. sorghum.

The Council utilizes the feed grains in all forms calculation to help capture how important overseas markets are for U.S. feed grain producers by including both exports of corn, barley and sorghum and products made with them as inputs including the corn equivalent of co-products like ethanol, DDGS and corn gluten feed/meal as well as beef, pork and poultry meat exports.

By category, U.S. corn exports increased six percent to 61.8 million tons (2.43 billion bushels). Corn exports to Mexico reached a record high of 15.7 million tons (618 million bushels), up nearly 13 percent over last marketing year.

This year’s sales continue strong export growth seen over the last five marketing years despite uncertainty surrounding the negotiation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), thanks in large part to the market access provided by the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the resulting well-developed North American supply chains and robust market development work by the Council and its members.

U.S. ethanol exports surged 19 percent to a record 1.62 billion gallons (equivalent to 547 million bushels of corn), thanks to greatly expanded worldwide market development work by the Council and ethanol industry partners including Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and generous support from state corn organizations. Recent successes are also aided by a competitively-priced product compared to those of other ethanol exporting countries as well as fossil fuel alternatives like MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) and aromatics (benzene, toluene and xylene).

Notably, this year’s export total surpasses the previous record of 1.37 billion gallons (equivalent to 490 million bushels of grain) exported in the 2016/2017 marketing year. The Council started promoting ethanol in the 2013/2014 marketing year and has quickly expanded the intensity and geographic scope of its market development efforts.

“U.S. ethanol exports are up 60 percent over the last two marketing years, with back-to-back years of record exports as the Council has ramped up its worldwide demand-building and market access activities,” Dwyer said. “We are the world’s low-cost ethanol producer, which has helped the United States capture more than 65 percent of global ethanol exports in the 2017/2018 marketing year.”

U.S. DDGS exports also grew year-over-year, albeit at a slower pace of 5.7 percent, with increased purchasing by four of the five top buyers for the year. Each of the top four buyers – Mexico, South Korea, Turkey and Vietnam – purchased more than a million tons of U.S. DDGS in the 2017/2018 marketing year, indicating continued strong global interest in the feed ingredient despite a steady decline in Chinese purchasing since 2013/2014.

Despite continued trade policy challenges, China remained the top buyer of U.S. sorghum with 4.2 million tons (165 million bushels) in sales in 2017/2018, largely sold before tariffs were enacted that continue to inhibit purchasing. Overall, sorghum exports were down nearly 14 percent year-over-year at 5.16 million tons (203 million bushels), but several smaller markets did increase purchases, including Japan, Sudan, the European Union (led by Spain), Somalia and South Korea.

USDA’s quarterly Grain Stocks report indicates higher stocks on hand at the end of the 2017-18 crop year than analysts expected.

Corn stocks as of Sept. 1 were 2.14 billion bushels, higher than the range of pre-report estimates. The average estimate was 2.002 bb.

Soybean stocks came in at 438 million bushes, significantly higher than the average pre-report estimate of 392 mb.

For corn and soybeans, September’s stocks figures will become the ending stocks numbers for the 2017-18 crop year. USDA economists will use these figures to update the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report on Oct. 11.

USDA also released its Small Grain Summary with finally tallies of this year’s wheat production.

USDA’s grain stocks estimates were bearish for corn, soybeans and wheat, said DTN Analyst Todd Hultman. USDA’s wheat production estimates were slightly bearish for all wheat, spring wheat and durum but neutral for winter wheat, he said.

Because DTN and other news outlets no longer have pre-release access to the reports, instead of one story, we are now sending a series of updates with each including more information as our analysts and reporters digest and analyze the new numbers.

Check this page throughout the morning for important highlights from the reports and commentary from our analysts on what the numbers mean.

You can also access the full reports here:

Grain Stocks and Small Grains Summary: https://www.nass.usda.gov/…



Soybean stocks as of Sept. 1 totaled 438 billion bushels, up 45% from last year, USDA said.

On-farm stocks came in at 101 million bushels, 15% higher than last year, while off-farm stocks came in 337 million bushels, up 58% from last year.

USDA said the industry used 781 million bushels, suggesting record fourth-quarter demand. The previous record for fourth-quarter disappearance, 673 million bushels, was set in the 2015-16 crop year.

USDA also revised its 2017 soybean production based on an analysis of year-end stocks estimates, disappearance data for exports and crushing and farm program administration data. It revised production upward by 19.1 million bushels. USDA adjusted yields to 49.3 bushels per acre, up 0.2 bpa from its previous estimate.


USDA said corn stocks totaled 2.14 billion bushels as of Sept. 1, down 7% compared to the same time last year.

Of that, 620 million bushels were stored on-farm, 221% lower than in September 2017, and 1.52 billion bushels were stored off-farm, 1% above year-ago levels.

Total usage from June to August totaled 3.16 billion bushels, compared to 2.94 billion bushels during the same period last year.


As of Sept. 1, USDA said total wheat stocks in storage were pegged at 2.38 billion bushels, up 5% from a year ago.

Of that, 631 million bushels were stored on-farm, up 28% from the same time last year. Off-farm stocks were reported at 1.75 billion bushels, down 1% from a year ago.

Total wheat usage was pegged at 605 million bushels, down 8% from last year.


Barley stocks in all positions were pegged at 175 million bushels, down 3% from 2017. On-farm stocks were estimated at 91.4 million bushels, up 1% from last year. Off-farm stocks were listed at 83.2 million bushels, 7% below 2017. Total usage was listed at 73.1 million bushels, 6% higher than last year.

Barley production was pegged at 153 million bushels, up 8% from 2017.


Old-crop grain sorghum totaled 34.9 million bushels in all positions, up 4% from a year ago. On-farm stocks were pegged at 3.36 million bushels, down 22% from last year while off-farm stocks were at 31.5 million bushels, up 8% from a year ago. Usage was reported at 30.5 million bushels, down 41% from the same time last year.


All-wheat production in 2018 reached 1.88 billion bushels, up 8% from revised 2017 figures of 1.74 billion bushels. Average yield for 2018 was 47.6 bushels per acre, up 1.3 bushels from 2017. Area harvested for all wheat totaled 39.6 million acres, up 5% from 2017 as well.

Winter wheat production in 2018 was pegged at 1.18 billion bushels, down 7% from last year. Spring wheat production was pegged at 623 million bushels, up 50% from a year ago and durum wheat was pegged at 77.3 million bushels, up 41%.


Editor’s Note: Join DTN Analyst Todd Hultman at 12 p.m. CDT on Friday, Sept. 28, as he explains what the day’s numbers mean to grain prices. To register, visit: https://dtn.webex.com/…

QUARTERLY STOCKS (million bushels)
(Report date 9/28/18) 9/1/18 Avg High Low Sep-17
Corn 2,140 2,002 2,099 1,953 2,293
Soybeans 438 394 408 385 302
Wheat 2,379 2,350 2,443 2,155 2,266
SMALL GRAINS SUMMARY (million bushels)
2017-2018 Production 9/28/18 Avg High Low 2017
All Wheat 1,884 1,871 1,907 1,848 1,741
Winter 1,184 1,188 1,200 1,170 1,269
HRW 662 661 666 645 750
SRW 286 290 294 285 292
White 217 237 247 230 227
Spring 623 610 635 591 416
Durum 77 72 74 70 55