In keeping with its 150-year tradition, USDA rolled out its projections for the year ahead at the Agricultural Outlook Forum in late February.
Supported by strong new-crop futures prices and a return to more normal spring and summer weather, corn, soybeans and wheat are projected to be planted on 5.7 million more acres than in 2011, for a total of 227 million acres. CRP enrollments are expected to go down 6.8 million acres from their peak in 2007/08.
U.S. corn production, based on a 164 bu. per acre trend-line yield, is projected to total a record 14.270 billion bushels. Record usage at 13.470 billion bushels (exports at 1.9 billion; ethanol at 4.950 billion; feed/residual at 5.2 billion) leaves carryover at 1.616 billion bushels, with an average farm price of $5 per bushel.
A projected 43.9 bu. per acre soybean yield on 75 million planted acres equals a 3.250 billion bushel crop.
Total usage at 3.335 billion bushels (exports of 1.550 billion; crush at 1.660 billion) puts carryover at 205 million bushels and prices at $11.50 per bushel.
Wheat production on 58 million planted acres with a 44.5 bu. per acre yield is expected to total 2.165 billion bushels. A 3.130 billion bushel supply and usage of 2.173 billion bushels
(domestic use of 1.198 billion; exports of 975 million) puts carryover up to 957 million bushels, with a farm price of $6.30 per bushel.
Cotton is expected to be planted on 13.2 million acres with harvest yielding 17 million bales at 777 lb. per acre. Total use of 15.5 million bales (exports of 12 million) leaves a carryover of
5.3 million bales at 80¢ per pound.
Beef production is projected to fall to 25.1 billion pounds with exports of 2.77 billion pounds, for a record average steer price of $121 to $129 per cwt. Pork production is pegged at 23.2 billion pounds with exports at 5.12 billion pounds, for a 51% to 52% lean live equivalent price of $63 to $67.