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USDA forecasts bigger corn and soybean stocks

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report last week projected corn ending stocks 50 million bushels higher at 1.83 billion bushels. It expects lower feed and residual use. The corn season-average farm prices was narrowed 5 cents on each end to $3.55 to $3.85 per bushel, the report said.

The USDA forecast ending soybean stocks at 370 million bushels, it said in the report. This was raised 15 million bushels from last month’s report as the USDA increased expected imports 5 million bushels and residual by 14 million bushels. Soybean use was raised 20 million bushels to 3.72 billion. The season-average farm price was narrowed to $9.60 to $10.60 per bushel.

Beef, pork deals reached

The USDA has recently reached agreements allowing U.S. beef and pork producers greater access to consumers in Mexico and Peru, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced in Iowa last week. The two agreements will allow U.S. producers to export slaughter cattle to Mexico and expand access to consumer markets in Peru for U.S. fresh and chilled pork.

"Mexico is an important market for U.S. cattle producers, with the potential to import $15 million of live U.S. cattle per year and we expect Peru’s market could generate $5 million annually in additional pork sales." Vilsack said.

The United States and Mexico reached an agreement that takes effect immediately and will allow U.S. producers to export slaughter cattle to Mexico for the first time in more than a decade.

Poultry forecast cut

The USDA last week cut its poultry export forecast by nearly 6 percent as avian influenza was confirmed on more farms in South Dakota and Minnesota. Mexico, Canada, China, and South Korea have limited imports of U.S. poultry and eggs.

The USDA, in a monthly supply and demand report last week, dropped its estimate for turkey exports in 2015 to 720 million pounds from 765 million pounds in March and 804 million pounds last year. Exports for broiler chickens were pegged at 6.68 billion pounds, down from 7.1 billion pounds last month and 7.3 billion pounds last year.

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed last week the presence of highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza in a commercial turkey flock in Kingsbury County, South Dakota, Meatingplace reported. This is the second confirmation in a commercial flock in that state. APHIS confirmed an outbreak of H5N2 avian influenza another commercial turkey flock in Minnesota—the ninth outbreak since March.

Iowa meat plant expands

A Sioux City specialty meat plant is planning a $9 million expansion to its facility, Brownfield Ag News reported last week. Curly’s Foods, owned by Smithfield Foods, says the expansion is due to a boost in sales and demand for pre-cooked meats at national franchise restaurants. The expansion will also add 30 new jobs, bringing total employment at the plant to 660.

Vietnam lifts restrictions

Vietnam has lifted age restrictions on beef from U.S. cattle and no longer will require certification through USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service export verification program. Vietnam will accept beef from U.S. cattle of all ages, no longer restricting to imports of beef from cattle aged 30 months or younger.

Fire halts shipments

Brazil’s Santos port has been unable to export 400,000 metric tons of soybeans and soymeal as firefighters battle a fire that has restricted truck access to much of the country’s largest export hub, soy industry association Abiove said last week. That is about four days’ worth of typical shipments for April, which averages about 3 million tonnes for the month, Abiove General Secretary Fábio Trigueirinho said, adding that costs to hold a ship idle run roughly $25,000 a day.

Santos moves one-third of the country’s soybean exports. Spread out over the seven ships required to haul 400,000 metric tons of soy products, the delay could cost exporters almost $700,000, Reuters reported.

Fertilizer plant on track

The construction of a $2 billion fertilizer plant remains on schedule in northwest Iowa, and is nearing its busiest phase, when roughly 2,200 workers will be on the job, according to news reports.

Construction of the new CF Industries plant is entering its second year and it remains on track for completion in 2016.