By Dave Natzke
The final 2010 U.S. Crop Production report, along with latest Grain Stocks and World Ag Supply and Demand (WASDE) reports – all released on Jan. 12 – point to reduced inventories and higher feed prices for dairy farmers.
USDA’s Crop Production report reduced 2010 corn estimated yields by 1.5 bushels per acre, to 152.8 bushels/acre, offsetting a 183,000-acre increase. Total production is now estimated at 12.4 billion bushels, down 1% from the Nov. 1 forecast and 5% below 2009’s record high of 13.1 billion bushels. U.S. grain yield for 2010 is estimated at 152.8 bushels per acre.
Final estimates for the 2010 soybean crop were also reduced from previous forecasts. Production totaled 3.33 billion bushels, down 1% from the Nov. 1 forecast and down 1% from 2009, but still the second-largest soybean crop on record. The average yield was estimated at 43.5 bushels, 0.4 bushel below the November forecast and 0.5 bushel below last year’s record high. Harvested area was reduced slightly from the previous forecast.
Corn stored in all positions on Dec. 1, 2010 totaled 10.0 billion bushels, down 8% from Dec. 1, 2009. The September-November 2010 indicated disappearance (a proxy for use) was 4.11 billion bushels, compared with 3.86 billion bushels during the same period last year. Ending corn stocks for 2010/11 are projected at 745 million bushels. That’s down 963 million bushels from last year. The stocks-to-use ratio is projected at 5.5%, the lowest ratio since 1995/96.Global corn production was lowered, based on the smaller U.S. crop and a sharp decline in Argentina, due to drought.
Soybeans stored in all positions on Dec. 1, 2010 totaled 2.28 billion bushels, down 3% from Dec. 1, 2009. Indicated disappearance for September-November 2010 totaled 1.20 billion bushels, up 4% from the same period a year earlier.
Soybean exports are projected at a record 1.590 billion bushels, unchanged from last month. Soybean ending stocks are projected at 140 million bushels, down 25 million from last month.
With lower production and stocks, combined with higher use, the WASDE report raised projected 2010-2011 marketing year average farm-level prices for corn and soybeans.
The projected marketing-year average price received by U.S. corn producers raised 10¢ on both ends of the range, to $4.90-$5.70/bushel, as cash and futures prices are expected to strengthen. Heavy early-season marketings of corn – priced well below current cash price levels – are expected to limit the upside potential for the weighted-average price received by producers.
The U.S. season-average soybean price range for 2010/11 was projected at $11.20-$12.20, up 50¢ on the lower end of the range. Again, early-season marketings priced below current cash price levels are expected to limit the upside potential for the weighted-average price received by producers. The soybean meal price was projected at $320-$360 per ton, up $10 on both ends of the range.
Looking at other major dairy feedstuffs:
• USDA raised the expected cottonseed crop slightly from last month’s forecast, to 6.191 milion tons. That’s up 49 % from last year’s total.
• Corn silage production was estimated at 107 million tons in 2010, down 1% from 2009. The U.S. silage yield was estimated at a record-high 19.3 tons per acre, tying the previous record set in 2009. Acreage harvested for silage is estimated at 5.57 million acres, down 1% from a year ago.
• Sorghum silage production was estimated at 3.42 million tons, down 7% from 2009. Area cut for silage was estimated at 273,000 acres, up 7% from the previous year. Yields averaged 12.5 tons per acre, down 2.0 tons per acre from 2009.
• Production of all dry hay for 2010 is estimated at 146 million tons, down 4% from the Oct. 1 forecast and down 1% from the 2009 total. Area harvested, at 59.9 million acres, was up slightly. The average yield, at 2.43 tons per acre, was down 0.12 ton from October and down 0.04 ton from the previous year.
• Production of alfalfa and alfalfa mixture dry hay was estimated at 67.9 million tons, down 5% from the Oct. 1 forecast and down 4% from 2009. Harvested area, at 20.0 million acres, was 4% below the Oct. 1 forecast and 6% below the previous year. The average yield was 3.40 tons per acre, 0.04 ton below the Oct. 1 forecast, but 0.05 ton above 2009.
• Production of other dry hay totaled 77.7 million tons, down 4% from the Oct. 1 forecast, but up 1% from 2009. Area for harvest, at 39.9 million acres, was up 3% from October and up 4% from last year. The average yield was estimated at 1.95 tons per acre, down 0.13 ton from October and down 0.04 ton from last year.
All hay stored on farms on Dec. 1, 2010 totaled 102 million tons, down 5% from a year ago. Disappearance from May-December 2010 totaled 64.4 million tons, compared with 62.5 million tons for the same period a year ago.
Compared with Dec. 1, 2009, hay stocks decreased in many areas, attributed to lower production and cattle producers feeding hay earlier than normal due to dry conditions.
Looking ahead to next year’s hay crop? USDA said U.S. growers seeded 2.55 million acres of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures during 2010, down 5% from the 2009.
USDA also compiles total forage production information – with an emphasis on total alfalfa production – collecting data from 18 major forage states. Haylage and greenchop production is converted to 13% moisture and combined with dry hay production to derive the total forage production.
The total 2010 all haylage and greenchop production for the 18 states was 33.8 million tons, of which 23.1 million tons are from alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures. The total all haylage production was up 7% from last year. Total forage area harvested was 35.7 million acres, including 14.5 million acres from alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures. The total forage harvested area was 71,000 acres lower than 2009 but the total forage production is up slightly from last year. The United States yield is estimated at 2.81 tons per acre, up 0.02 ton from the previous year.