USDA Makes Updated 2007-08 Crop Predictions

At its annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, USDA updated its crop forecasts, taking into account the ethanol industry's increasing demand for corn.

Published on: Mar 5, 2007

USDA released new predictions for corn and soybeans for the 2007-08 marketing year Friday at its annual Agricultural Outlook Forum.

One of the notable updated forecasts is a lower prediction for carryover corn stocks. In February, USDA estimated 660 million bushels, but on Friday lowered that figure to 637 million bushels.

USDA also increased forecasts for 2007-08 corn acreage and production this year. The updated prediction of 87 million acres is a million higher than last month's number, and estimated production is 12.195 billion bushels, up from the 12.065 billion bushels forecast in February.

"Corn use will be dominated by gains in domestic use in 2007-08 as corn-based ethanol production is expected to grow at a record pace," USDA economists say in a paper prepared for the forum.

Those gains in corn will come at the expense of soybeans, USDA's predictions suggest. The new prediction for soybean planted area, 70.5 million acres, is down half a million acres from February's forecast. USDA also lowered its production estimation from 2.9 billion to 2.88 billion bushels. In 2006-07, farmers planted 75.6 million acres of soybeans and produced 3.204 billion bushels.

Soybean meal consumptions is nevertheless projected to increase 1% to 2%, USDA says. This, combined with soyoil prices forecast to be rising due to biodiesel demand, could result in a bigger soybean crush in 2007-08 - 1.820 billion bushels by USDA's estimation, just over 2% more than the 2006-07 crush.