Much has been made of the slow start to the U.S. export season for both corn and soybeans, but what do the actual numbers show? 

This week’s export sales report showed a nice uptick in sales for corn at 71.5 million bushels. Total corn sales for the 2023-24 year, at 566.3 million bushels, have now passed last year’s total. 

While it is nice to see this year’s export sales exceed a year ago, one needs to remember that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) currently has the 2022-23 export estimate at 1.665 billion bushels, the lowest yearly total since 2012-13. Moving forward, corn sales need to average nearly 31 million bushels per week to meet the current USDA goal. 

When looking at the individual countries, Japan’s purchases are up 43% from a year ago,...