USDA has raised its forecasts for U.S. corn and sorghum exports to the highest levels in nearly two decades. Buoyed in part by U.S. corn and sorghum sales, the value of U.S. agricultural exports rose $1 billion compared to last year. Estimated exports of U.S. corn were increased by 100 million bushels and U.S. sorghum by 40 million bushels.

This is particularly good news for U.S. grain producers as corn demand for ethanol was lowered by 100 million bushels for the second consecutive month.

Ken Hobbie, U.S. Grains Council president and CEO, also noted that the organization's market building programs have introduced ethanol co-products such as distiller's grains and corn gluten in markets from Morocco to Taiwan.

According to USDA's Oct. 12 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, U.S. corn production is expected to reach 13.3 billion bushels and 2007-08 exports are projected to be 2.35 billion bushels, the most in 18 years. USDA also lowered China's corn production by 157 million bushels, to 5.6 billion bushels.

The latter is in line with assessments by USGC officials on the Council's 2007 China Corn Tour, which estimated China's production at approximately 5.5 billion bushels.