USDA Outlook: Highlights for Corn, Soybeans and Wheat

February 22, 2019 11:22 AM
How will 2019 shake out for the major row crops? USDA provided a first take today, as part of its 2019 Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va.

How will 2019 shake out for the major row crops? USDA provided a first take today, based on statistical models—not on farmer surveys. This morning, as part of its 2019 Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va., USDA released its initial commodity outlooks for the year. 

For the three major crops, USDA’s outlook represents a dramatic change from prior years because of China’s imposition of tariffs on U.S. soybeans. As a result, USDA expects soybean acres to drop this year, allowing spring wheat, corn and cotton acres to all increase. 


Source: USDA

The total of three-crop plantings, at 224 million acres, would be down 2.1 million from final plantings in 2018. This largely reflects expectations of a return to a more typical level of prevented plant acres, according to USDA.

Here are the highlights for corn, soybeans and wheat:


The U.S. corn outlook for 2019/20 is for increased production, domestic use and exports, and lower stocks. Corn exports are up 25 million bushels, reflecting expectations of modest growth in global trade and a slight decline in U.S. market share with competition from other exporters.

  • Acres: 92.0 million, up 3% from 2018
  • Production: 14.9 billion bushels, up 3% from 2018
  • Yield: 176.0 bushels per acre
  • Season-Average Farm Price: $3.65
  • Total Use: 15.015 billion bushels, up 1% from 2018, based on increases in domestic use and exports
  • Ending Stocks: 1.7 billion bushels, down 5% from 2018/19, supporting a 5-cent per bushel increase from a year ago for season-average farm prices


The 2019/20 outlook for U.S. soybeans is for record supplies, higher crush and exports and lower ending stocks. With rising global demand and reduced supplies in Brazil this fall, some recovery in U.S. exports is expected despite continued import duties assumed for U.S. soybeans in China.

  • Acres: 85 million acres, down 4.7% from 2018
  • Production: 4.2 billion bushels, 8% below 2018
  • Yield: 49.5 bushels per acre, 2.1 bushels below 2018
  • Season-Average Farm Price: $8.80, up 20 cents from 2018/19.
  • Total Use: 4.26 billion bushels
  • Ending Stocks: 845 million bushels, historically high, but down 65 million from 2018/19


The 2019/20 outlook for U.S. wheat is for reduced supplies, minimally lower use and decreased ending stocks. Greater export competition is seen from Australia and the EU in 2019/20 as both recover from last year’s drought.

  • Acres: 47.0 million, down 2% from 2018
  • Production: 1.902 million bushels, 1% higher than 2018/19
  • Yield: 47.8 bushels per acre
  • Season-Average Farm Price: $5.20, up slightly from last year’s price of $5.15
  • Total Use: 2.12 billion bushels
  • Ending Stocks: 944 million bushels, down 7% from last year

USDA’s projections assume normal weather conditions for spring planting and summer crop development, as well as the continuation of tariffs by China on a number of U.S. agricultural products.

USDA will update these forecasts in the May 10 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report. That report will incorporate farmers’ 2019 planting intentions as indicated in the March 29 NASS Prospective Plantings report and survey-based forecasts for winter wheat production, as well as global, country-by-country supply and demand projections.


Read more coverage from USDA’s 2019 Agricultural Outlook Forum:

USDA: Corn to Be King Again in 2019

Ag Leaders Offer Limited Answers with USMCA Tariff Timeline

USDA: Soybean Plantings Will Decline, Corn Will Rise in 2019

9 Ag Statistics to Know in 2019

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