"Some of the large outstanding sales, however, may represent an
accelerated pace of purchases as importers anticipated higher
prices or, in the case of corn, reduced availability due to
domestic ethanol use and a smaller-than-expected crop," said
Darrel Good. "Until there is some evidence of reduced interest
in U.S. crops, prices will likely remain well-supported.
"However, it may be difficult to support prices at the extremely
high levels of late November through the winter months."
Good's comments came as he reviewed corn and soybean exports,
both of which are off to a strong start. The first quarter of
the 2006-07 marketing year for corn and soybeans ended on Nov.
30, and both the pace of U.S. exports and export sales were
brisk during the quarter.
"The magnitude of exports during the first quarter does not
always provide an accurate forecast of exports for the year,"
Good noted. "Over the past five years, for example,
first-quarter corn exports accounted for 22.2 to 27.4 percent of
the total for the year.
"Performance has been even more variable for soybeans, with
first-quarter shipments ranging from 30.7 to 43.5 percent of the
marketing year total. The first quarter total, however, allows
the calculation of export performance needed for the rest of the
year to reach current projections for the year."
For corn, the USDA currently projects 2006-07 marketing year
exports at an 11-year high of 2.2 billion bushels, 53 million
more than exported last year. Census Bureau estimates of U.S.
corn exports are currently available only for September.
USDA export inspection estimates are available through Nov.
30, and estimates from the USDA's Export Sales report are
available through Nov. 23.
Cumulative export inspections through Nov. 30 were estimated
at 565 million bushels. For September, the Census Bureau
estimate was about 2 million bushels less than the inspections
estimate. For September and October, the estimate from the
Export Sales report exceeded inspections by 6.6 million bushels
"That difference was only 2.2 million -- 0.4 percent --
through Nov. 23," said Good. "The Export Sales report provides a
more complete accounting of exports than the inspections report.
It appears, then, that first-quarter corn exports may have
totaled about 567 million bushels. That estimate exceeds
shipments during the first quarter last year by 90 million
bushels and represents the largest first-quarter shipments in 11
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"The largest year-over-year increase in shipments is to Mexico,
while the largest buyer of U.S. corn, Japan, has imported less U.S.
corn than at this time last year."
To reach the USDA projection of corn exports for the year,
shipments during the last three quarters need to total 1.633 billion
bushels, 37 million less than exported during the same period last
year. Exports during the final three quarters of the marketing year
last year were the largest since 1994-95.
As of Nov. 23, the USDA reported that 468 million bushels of U.S.
corn had been sold for export, but not yet shipped. That compares
with only 305 million on the same date last year.
"All major importers have registered larger purchases than those
of a year ago," said Good. "New sales need to average only about 30
million bushels per week to reach the USDA projection for the year."
For soybeans, the USDA projects 2006-07 marketing year exports at
a record 1.145 billion bushels, 198 million more than exported last
year. The combination of Census Bureau and USDA estimates suggest
that first-quarter shipments were near 370 million bushels, about 57
million larger than the first-quarter shipments of last year and the
third-largest ever for the quarter.
"All major buyers of U.S. soybeans imported more during the
quarter than were imported in the same quarter last year," said
Good. "To reach the USDA projection for the year, U.S. soybean
exports need to total 775 million bushels during the last three
quarters of the year. Shipments during that period totaled only 635
million bushels last year. The previous record for that
three-quarter period was 725 million bushels in 2002-03."
As of Nov. 23, Good noted, the USDA reported that 269 million
bushels of U.S. soybeans had been sold for export, but not yet
"This compares to only 145 million of outstanding sales on the
same date last year," he said. "China and 'unknown' destinations
accounted for all of the increase. Weekly sales now need to average
only about 13 million bushels for exports to reach the USDA
"The size of the 2007 South American crop will have some
influence on U.S. exports during the last five months of the
of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental
Sciences news release]