USDA lowered average U.S. rice yield significantly in its Jan. 12 Crop Production report, but found a little over 50,000 additional acres, resulting in a slight increase in production from the previous estimate.

The U.S. 2008-09 rice crop is estimated at 203.7 million hundredweight, up slightly from the previous estimate. Average yield is estimated at 6,846 pounds per acre, down 113 pounds per acre from USDA's December estimate, and 373 pounds per acre below the record of 2007-08. Harvested area is estimated at 2.98 million acres, up 52,000 acres from the previous estimate.

According to USDA's Jan. 12 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, U.S. rice imports for 2008-09 are projected at 18 million hundredweight, down 4.5 million from USDA's December estimate with imports of combined medium-grain and short-grain rice reduced 2.5 million and long-grain imports down 2 million.

All rice exports were lowered 5 million hundredweight to 101 million, with long-grain down 6 million and combined medium-grain and short-grain up 1 million. Rough rice exports were lowered 1 million hundredweight to 38 million, while combined milled and brown exports were lowered 4 million hundredweight to 63 million. Rice ending stocks are projected at 23.2 million hundredweight, slightly below USDA's December estimate, with the reduction all in long-grain.

Global rice ending stocks are projected at 82.7 million tons, up 1.8 million from last month, up 4 million from 2007-08, and the largest stocks since 2002-03.

Estimated U.S. cotton production was lowered 577,000 bales, due mainly to a reduction in Texas. Domestic mill use was reduced 100,000 bales to 4.2 million bales, reflecting lower activity in November. The export forecast was reduced 250,000 bales to 12 million bales due to lower world import demand.

World cotton production was reduced 1.7 million bales, mainly in India, the United States, and Argentina. Consumption was lowered in China, India, Pakistan, and the United States, reflecting a continued slowdown in global textile demand. World imports were reduced sharply, due mainly to lower consumption and imports by China. World ending stocks were raised 1 percent from USDA's December estimate.

U.S. corn ending stocks for 2008-09 are projected 316 million bushels higher this month on higher estimated production of 12.1 billion bushels and lower expected use. Estimated ethanol corn use was lowered 100 million bushels as sustained negative ethanol production margins since early December have reduced incentives for ethanol output.

Exports are projected 50 million bushels lower based on the slow pace of sales and shipments to date.

Projected sorghum ending stocks for 2008-09 were increased 27 million bushels on higher estimated production and lower expected feed and residual use.

Globally, corn production for China was raised 5.5 million tons on higher area and yields. Mexico production was raised 1 million tons due to favorable weather. Brazil and Argentina corn production was lowered 2 million tons due to extended dryness and heat during December.

Global corn consumption was lowered with much of the reduction coming from changes to the U.S. balance sheet. Global corn ending stocks for 2008-09 are projected 12.2 million tons higher with the United States and China accounting for most of the increase.

U.S. soybean production is estimated at 2.959 billion bushels, up 39 million bushels from USDA's December estimate based on both higher yields and harvested area. Soybean yield is estimated at 39.6 bushels per acre. Soybean exports are raised 50 million bushels to 1.1 billion due to strong sales and shipments to China. Soybean ending stocks are projected at 225 million bushels, up 20 million.

Projected U.S. wheat ending stocks for 2008-09 were raised 32 million bushels this month on lower projected domestic use. Feed and residual use is projected 30 million bushels lower.

Global 2008-09 wheat production is projected at 682.9 million tons, down 1.1 million from USDA's December estimate. World wheat consumption was lowered and global ending stocks were increased 1 million tons mostly reflecting the increase in U.S. ending stocks.