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USDA revises 2023-24 corn yield estimates; production declines


US corn yield estimate revised lower to 175.1 bushels/acre

Ukraine ending stocks surge by 180% amid Black Sea Grain Initiative fallout

China's corn production drops due to excessively wet conditions

  • Author
  • Shivam Prakash
  • Editor
  • Valarie Jackson
  • Commodity
  • Agriculture
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  • United States

The US Department of Agriculture has revised the corn yield estimate for marketing year 2023-24 (September-August) to 175.1 bushels/acre from 177.5 bu/acre, according to the Aug. 11 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report.

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US corn production for MY 2023-24 is forecast 209 million bu lower to 15.111 billion bu, while corn beginning corn stocks are 55 million bu higher, the USDA said in its latest report.

The yield revision comes following a prior revision in the June-July forecasts for the first time since 2012. This is largely because of a dry start to crop development in much of the US Corn Belt in June, which, despite showers in July, has trimmed the top-end yield potential, according to analysts.

In a survey conducted by S&P Global Commodity Insights, producers reported better yields than in 2022, despite crop conditions being at five-year lows.

The USDA has made no change to import projections, which stand at 25 million bushels, while exports are lowered by 50 million bu to 2.05 billion bu.

In all, the USDA has reduced the 2023-24 US corn ending stocks estimate by 60 million bu to 2.202 billion bu. This is 745 million bu above year-on-year estimates.

The domestic total fell to 12.340 billion bu, which is still above last year's 12.060 billion bu.

The total supply estimates for August have fallen to 16.592 billion bu compared with 16.747 billion bu in July, still above the 15.142 billion bu in the previous year.

The USDA has increased the average farm price by 10 cents to $4.90/bu, which is still lower than $6.60/bu in the 2022-23 estimates.

Beyond the US

The latest WASDE report estimates Brazil's production for MY 2023-24 at 129 million mt, unchanged on the month. However, the USDA increased Brazil's current corn crop by 2 million mt to 135 million mt, owing to the positive yield farmers reported as they harvest the second corn crop.

While imports for Brazil 2023-24 corn are estimated at 1.20 million mt, exports are at 55 million mt. The beginning stock projections for August are increased to 8.97 million mt from 7.97 million mt in July.

Similarly, for Argentina, overall production for MY 2023-24 was estimated at 54 million mt, significantly above the previous year's 34 million mt. Imports are projected at 0.01 million mt, while exports are at 40.50 million mt, compared with the 22 million mt in 2022-23 estimates.

"Corn production for Ukraine is higher (27.50 million mt in August against 25 million mt in July), with increases to both area and yield as timely rainfall and a lack of extreme heat during July boost yield expectations," the USDA said.

"Ukraine corn exports are unchanged with the expiration of the Black Sea Grain Initiative," the USDA noted in its latest WASDE report. The ending stocks, on the other hand, surged 180% to 3.89 million mt.

China's 2023-24 corn production is reduced by 3 million mt to 277 million mt, as excessive wetness in key producing provinces in Northeast China and on the North China Plain reduces yield prospects. The production nears 2022-23 estimates of 277.20 million mt, after posting an increase from June to July.

In the USDA report, China's import projections are pegged at 23 million mt, unchanged on the month, but 5 million mt higher than the previous year. With key corn-producing provinces witnessing excessive water, crop damage, and the effects of recurring typhoons, an increase in Chinese corn imports is expected, especially amid the fall of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.