Estimates of U.S. ending stocks for cotton and soybeans continue to shrink, according to USDA’s March 10 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Ending stocks for old crop cotton are now forecast at 3.2 million bales, a 100,000-bale decrease from the previous month. This represents 20.6 percent of total use. The reduction coincides with a 100,000-bale increase in the estimate for domestic mill use, which is now at 3.5 million bales, reflecting higher consumption from November through January.

The projected range for the marketing-year average price received by producers was raised 1.5 cents on the low end and 0.5 cent on the high end to 60.5 to 65.5 cents per pound.

The estimate for world cotton ending stocks also continues to decline (by 700,000 bales) due to a combination of slightly lower production and slightly higher consumption for 2009-10. World trade was raised 2 percent, reflecting higher imports by China, Turkey and Vietnam.

Soybeans

U.S. soybean ending stocks for 2009-10 are projected at 190 million bushels, down 20 million from last month, while soybean production is estimated at 3.36 billion bushels, down 2 million bushels from January. Soybean exports were raised 20 million bushels to a record 1.42 billion bushels, reflecting the strong export pace to date.

Soybean oil used for biodiesel is unchanged at 2.2 billion pounds despite a drop in production in January resulting from the loss of the $1per gallon blending tax credit at the end of 2009. Offsetting production gains are expected later in the year as diesel suppliers increase blending to meet biodiesel mandates.

The U.S. season-average soybean price range for 2009-10 is narrowed to $8.95 to $9.95 per bushel.

Global soybean production was raised 900,000 tons to 255.9 million tons. Soybean production for Brazil is projected at a record 67 million tons, up 1 million from last month based on higher yields and harvested area.

Corn

Old crop corn production was lowered 20 million bushels based on updated estimates of yields for Illinois and Minnesota, and harvested area for Michigan. U.S. corn production remains a record 13.1 billion bushels.

U.S. corn exports were lowered 100 million bushels, and U.S. corn ending stocks for 2009-10 are projected 80 million bushels higher.

The projected 2009-10 marketing-year average farm price for corn was lowered 20 cents on the top end of the range to $3.45 to $3.75 per bushel. Projected farm prices were also lowered for sorghum.

World corn production for 2009-10 was raised 5.9 million tons due to higher production in Argentina and South Africa. Global sorghum production was raised 600,000 tons.

Corn exports were raised 2.5 million tons for Argentina, 1 million tons for South Africa and 500,000 tons for India, which mostly offset corn export reductions for Brazil and the United States. Global corn ending stocks for 2009-10 are projected 6.1 million tons higher with increases in most of the major corn exporting countries, including the United States, Argentina, South Africa, and Brazil.

Rice

U.S. exports for all rice in 2009-10 were lowered 1 million hundredweight to 100 million hundredweight. Rough rice exports were raised 2 million hundredweight, while combined milled and brown exports (on a rough-equivalent basis) were lowered 3 million.

Long-grain exports were lowered 1 million hundredweight to 69 million, while combined medium- and short-grain exports are unchanged at 31 million. All rice ending stocks are projected at 40.8 million hundredweight, 1 million above last month, and up 10.4 million from 2008-09.

The 2009-10 long-grain season-average price is projected at $12.70 to $13.20 per hundredweight, down 20 cents on each end of the range from last month. The combined medium- and short-grain price is projected at $17.45 to $17.95 per hundredweight, down 5 cents on each end of the range. The all rice season-average price is forecast at $13.90 to $14.40 per hundredweight, down 15 cents on both ends of the range. USDA reports that global prices have weakened over the last month due in part to a softening in import demand and an increase in available supplies of the major exporters.

Global 2009-10 rice production, consumption, trade, and ending stocks are also rising. The 4-million-ton increase in world production to 440.3 million tons is due mostly to increases for India and Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, world rice consumption is projected at a record 440.6 million tons, up 3.4 million from last month, and up 1 percent from 2008-09.

U.S. wheat ending stocks for 2009-10 are projected 20 million bushels higher due to a reduction in expected food use. Ending stocks are now estimated at 1 billion bushels. Global stocks are also projected higher.

The projected marketing-year average farm price for wheat was raised 5 cents on both ends of the range to $4.80 to $5 per bushel.

e-mail: erobinson@farmpress.com