March adjustments to USDA’s corn and soybean supply and demand outlook were minimal, which is typically for this time of the year.

USDA lowered forecasts for corn exports 75 million bushels. Reductions to corn exports have been expected as corn export sales have been slow this year. No other changes were made to corn estimates leaving ending stocks 25 million bushels higher than the February estimate.

For soybeans, forecasts for exports were raised 25 million bushels while crush was lower 10 million bushels. This left ending stocks projected 15 million bushels lower than the February estimates.

Table 1. WASDE Feed Grain and Corn Estimates – March 2023

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Table 2. WASDE Soybean and Soy Products Estimates – March 2023

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Corn Exports Lowered, But Still Look Optimistic

USDA adjusted corn exports down but given current export numbers this may still be optimistic. Using historical sales patterns and the new WASDE estimate corn exports are trending below expectations (Figure 1). Historical sales suggest we should have sold about 930 million bushels by now, but only about 630 million have been sold. Exports can be volatile and typically do pick up in the second half of the marketing year. However, unless exports continue to pick up, final exports will likely not hit the new USDA target of 1850 million bushels by the end of the year.  

Figure 1. 2022 US Corn Weekly Accumulated Exports (Actual vs. WASDE Projection)

Economic analysis provided by Aaron Gerdts, Research Analyst, Decision Innovation Solutions on behalf of Iowa Farm Bureau.