USDA raised expected production for this year’s U.S. cotton crop to 19.8 million bales because of higher planted area, while lowering estimates for corn, rice and soybeans due to lower projected yields. Here more from USDA’s July 12, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

Cotton

USDA increased 2004 U.S. ending stocks by 500,000 bales due to lower projected exports, but reduced beginning stocks by 300,000 bales. The lower carry-in is expected to be offset by slightly larger production, leaving the total supply unchanged.

USDA now estimates U.S. production at 19.8 million bales, indicating higher planted area. The U.S. export forecast is reduced to 14.5 million bales, due to higher foreign production and reduced imports by China. Ending stocks are forecast at 6.7 million bales, or 33 percent of total use.

The world 2005-06 forecast includes an 11 percent increase in ending stocks. World ending stocks are now forecast at nearly 49 million bales, up 4.9 millions bales from last month.

Rice

U.S. rice production in 2005-06 is now projected at 221 million hundredweight, 4 million hundredweight below last month and nearly 10 million hundredweight below the record of 2004-05. The estimated harvested area of 3.31 million acres is 49,000 acres below last month, and 38,000 acres below 2004-05.

Yield is projected at 6,721 pounds per acre, 30 pounds per acre below last month, and 221 pounds per acre below the 2004-05 record. Long-grain rice production is projected at 169.5 million hundredweight, 2.5 million hundredweight below last month, and slightly above 2004-05.

Combined medium- and short-grain rice production is projected at 51.5 million hundredweight, 1.5 million hundredweight below last month, and over 10 million hundredweight below 2004-05.

Projected imports for 2005-06 are lowered slightly to 14 million hundredweight. Exports for 2005-06 are projected at 119 million hundredweight, 2 million hundredweight below last month, but 10 million hundredweight above 2004-05.

Ending stocks are projected at 25.7 million hundredweight, 19 percent below last month, and 28 percent below 2004-05. USDA projects that tighter domestic supplies particularly for combined medium- and short-grain rice will keep prices higher in 2005-06.

World rice production is projected at nearly 410 million tons, 500,000 tons below a month ago due to smaller crops projected for Burma, the United States, and South Korea.

Global ending stocks for 2005-06 are projected at 66.8 million tons, 500,000 tons below last month, and 7.9 million tons below revised 2004-05.

Corn

Higher corn prices could be on the way, according to USDA. Forecast beginning stocks of 2005-06 corn are down 100 million bushels from last month, due to increases of 150 million bushels in feed and residual use and 25 million in exports in last year’s crop. The increase is partially offset by a 75 million drop in corn used for ethanol.

Projected 2005-06 corn production is down 200 million bushels from last month because crop conditions indicate lower prospective yields. Corn prices in 2005-06 are projected to average $1.70 to $2.10, up 15 cents on each end from last month compared with $2.00 to $2.10 for 2004-05.

Soybeans

U.S. soybean production is projected at 2.89 billion bushels (78.7 million tons), down 5 million bushels from last month.

The U.S. season average soybean price for 2005-06 is projected at $5.10 to $6.10 per bushel, up 15 cents on both ends of the range.

Ending stocks for 2004-05 are projected at 290 million bushels, down 30 million bushels.

The Brazilian soybean crop is now estimated at 51 million tons based on a government survey.

Wheat

Projected U.S. 2005-06 ending stocks of wheat are up 81 million bushels from last month due to larger beginning stocks and higher production. Forecast winter wheat production is 20 million bushels less than last month because of lower harvested area.

Foreign wheat production is down 1.7 million tons due mostly to smaller crops in India (down 1.5 million) and Algeria (down 1.1 million). This is partially offset by larger crops in Ukraine, the EU-25, and Canada.

Projected global imports are up 1.75 million tons with the most noteworthy changes being a 1-million increase in India’s imports (the first significant imports in six years) and 600,000 by Algeria.

e-mail: erobinson@primediabusiness.com