US corn stocks to triple from big crop, small exports-USDA

Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:02am EST

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* Biggest end stocks since 2007/08 is forecast
    * Farm-gate price for corn to tumble 28 percent

    WASHINGTON, Feb 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. corn stockpile will
more than triple following a record large harvest this fall as
strong competition from Brazil and Argentina limits U.S. exports
and ethanol production stays flat, the Agriculture Department
said on Friday.
    The USDA projected a corn crop of 14.53 billion bushels, up
35 percent from the drought-shortened crop of 2012, assuming
normal weather and yields. Farm-gate prices for corn would
tumble by 28 percent to $4.80 a bushel.
    The record corn crop is 13.092 billion bushels in 2009. U.S.
corn production has fallen for three years in a row. Ending
stocks this marketing year would be the smallest in 17 years.
    Exports of 1.5 billion bushels in 2013/14, a rebound from
the 41-year low forecast for this marketing year, still would be
the second lowest since 1993/94 "as the U.S. share of the world
market struggles to recover," the USDA said.
    Ethanol makers were forecast to use 4.675 billion bushels of
corn to make the renewable fuel, up 175 million bushels, or 4
percent, from 2012/13. Ethanol use will be limited by falling
demand for gasoline and a lack of a market for fuel containing
higher ethanol blends than the standard 10 percent.
    Lower corn prices will encourage livestock feeding but use
will be constrained by tight supplies of feeder cattle.
    "Lower beef production is more than offset by expected
increases in poultry and pork output, raising corn feeding
slightly for the year," said the USDA.
    The USDA pegged ending stocks at 2.177 billion bushels, the
first time since 2007/08 that they would top 2 billion bushels.
    "A return to more normal spring weather is expected to
reduce this year's planting opportunities for corn and leave
more land available for soybeans," the USDA said, in projecting
plantings of 96.5 million acres.
    Some analysts say corn plantings will be as large as 99
million acres.
    Following are the USDA's projections for production and use
in the 2013/14 marketing year, with comparisons to USDA
estimates for 2011/12 and 2012/13. Ending stocks for 2012/13 are
the USDA February estimate; beginning stocks for 2013/14 are
based on current conditions.
               U.S. corn production and demand

                      Final  Estimate  Baseline   Update
                    2011/12   2012/13   2013/14  2013/14
 Plant (mln ac)        91.9      97.2      96.0     96.5
 Harvest (mln ac)      84.0      87.4      88.3     88.8
 Yield (bu/ac)        147.2     123.4     163.5    163.6
 Begin stocks         1,128       989       647      632
 Crop                12,360    10,780    14,435   14,530
 Imports                 29       100        25       25
 Total supply        13,516    11,869    15,107   15,187
 Feed, residual       4,548     4,450     5,250    5,400
 Food, seed, ind'y    6,437     5,887     6,090    6,110
   Ethanol            5,011     4,500     4,675    4,675
 Total domestic use  10,985    10,337    11,340   11,510
 Exports              1,543       900     1,700    1,500
 Total use           12,527    11,237    13,040   13,010
 End stocks             989       632     2,067    2,177
 Avg farm price ($/bu) 6.22      7.25      5.40     4.80
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