The expectations for the 2023 cropping levels in the US indicate growth in the planted area of maize, wheat, and soybeans, relative to the previous year.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has just published its 2023/2024 supply and demand projections for a range of crops, including wheat, maize and soybeans.
The combined area for the three crops is projected at 91.2Mha (million hectares), an almost 3% increase from 2022.
Prices for all three crops are projected to be lower than 2022. However, they should remain elevated relative to historical averages over the past 10 years.
Among the three main crops, wheat area is projected to increase the most, in response to continued high global prices and tight US and global supplies, partially due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Soybean area is expected to remain about the same as in 2022. Demand for soybeans in the United States is expected to be driven by stronger demand for domestic crush – largely driven by growth in biofuel use.
Meanwhile, soybean exports are likely face competition from continued production growth in South America during the 2023/2024 US marketing year.
The maize planted area is projected to increase about 3%, relative to last year, when plantings were affected by weather-related delays and prevented planting in key-producing regions.
The US maize outlook for 2023/2024 is for larger production, greater domestic use, increased exports, and higher ending stocks. The crop is projected at approximately 375Mt (megatonnes), about 10% above a year ago.
If realised, this will be the second highest level of output on record, behind 2016/2017. The maize planted area is forecast to come in at around 36Mha, up 1Mha on a year ago.
The yield projection of 11.1t/ha is based on a weather-adjusted trend, assuming normal planting progress and summer growing season weather.
Total US maize use for 2023/2024 is forecast higher, relative to last year, as a result of projected growth in domestic use and exports.
Maize exports in 2023/2024 are projected to rise by approximately 6.9Mt to 55Mt.
These figures are based on expectations of reduced exportable supplies in Ukraine, modest global trade growth, and continued robust demand from China.
Ending stocks for 2023/2024 are projected at 47Mt, up 15.5Mt from a year ago.
This would see stocks, relative to use at 13%. If this figure was to be realised, it would represent the highest ration since 2019/2020.
The season average corn price received by producers in 2023 is forecast down $1.10 to $224/t.
Meanwhile, the 2023/2024 outlook for US soybeans is for higher supplies, crush, exports, and ending stocks.
Soybean supplies are projected at 130.764Mt, 4% above 2022/2023 with increased production partly offset with lower beginning stocks. Actual soybean production in 2023 is projected at 122.5Mt, 5% above a year earlier.
Higher yields will account for most of the increase. The yield forecast of 3.54t/ha is based on a weather-adjusted trend assuming normal growing season weather.
The projected planted area is unchanged from 2022/2023 at 35Mha.
US soybean exports for 2023/2024 are projected at 55.2Mt, up by 1Mt from the 2022/2023 forecast. With a record harvest currently underway in Brazil, South American supplies will be higher this year as the US 2023/2024 export season gets underway.
With another large South American harvest expected in early 2024, export competition will likely limit potential gains in US exports in the second half of the marketing year.
The 2023/2024 outlook for US wheat is for increased supplies, larger total use, and slightly higher ending stocks. US wheat production is projected 14% above 2022/2023 at 51.3Mt, based on a combination of both higher area and yield.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) winter wheat and oilseed rape seedings report estimated winter wheat seeded area at 14.8Mha, up 11% from 2022/2023 and the largest recorded figure since 2015/2016.
Combined spring and durum wheat plantings for 2023/2024 are projected slightly higher than last year with the area expansion constrained by expected favourable net returns for corn, soybeans, and other grain crops.
The total wheat planted area for 2023/2024 is projected at 20Mha, up nearly 1.52Mha from last year and the highest recorded wheat area since 2016/2017.
Higher US wheat exports are expected in 2023/2024, as a consequence of increased supplies. However, exports are still forecast below the five-year average at 22.45Mt.
In addition, US wheat export prices are expected to remain uncompetitive in several markets, limiting export gains.
With supplies projected to increase more than total use, 2023/2024 ending stocks projections have been increased to 16.54Mt.This is 7% above last year but well below the five-year average.
The increased stocks and a slightly higher stocks-to-use ratio of 30.9% contribute to a projected 2023/2024 season-average farm price (SAFP) of $312.29/t, the second highest SAFP on record.