Quiet response as USDA releases bearish corn and wheat estimates

The USDA published some larger-than-expected estimates for corn and wheat in its January reports published on Friday, but the futures market — particularly for corn — showed little response.

The January 12th data release included the monthly WASDE report, the annual Crop Production summary, the December 31st quarterly stocks report, and the first Winter Wheat Seedings report.

To start, the average U.S. corn yield was bumped up again, to a record 176.6 bu/ac, in turn boosting production, with ending stocks coming in at 2.48 billion, versus the trade’s average guess of 2.43 billion.

World corn ending stocks also came in larger than expected, at 206.6 million tons versus the average analyst estimate of 203.1 million tons.

U.S. wheat ending stocks were pegged at 989 million bushels, up from 960 in the December report and above the average trade guess of 959 million.

In its the first acreage estimate for winter wheat seeded area, the USDA number came in larger than expected at 32.61 million acres, versus the trade’s expectation of 31.31 million and 32.70 last year.

As for soybeans, the average U.S. yield was bumped lower to 49.1 bu/ac, with ending stocks of 470 million, slightly below the trade’s guess of 472 million.

Despite the bearish data, the nearby March corn futures contract in Chicago only dropped 2 1/2 cents/bu on Friday. Wheat was down 12 3/4 cents while soybeans rose 10 1/2 cents.

Find the latest futures prices on the RealAg futures dashboard.


Kelvin Heppner

Kelvin Heppner is a field editor and radio host for RealAgriculture and RealAg Radio. He's been reporting on agriculture on the prairies and across Canada since 2008(ish). He farms with his family near Altona, Manitoba, and is on Twitter at @realag_kelvin. @realag_kelvin


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