Corn production for 2009-2010 is projected at 12.1 billion bushels, down 11 million bushels from last year, as lower plantings more than offset higher expected yields. Harvested area is projected at 77.8 million acres. Yield is projected at 155.4 bu./acre, 1.5 bu. below the 1990-2008 trend based on the slow pace of planting in the eastern Corn Belt. The projected yield assumes a mid-May planting progress well below the 10-year average and just below last year’s delayed progress. Corn supplies, projected at 13.7 billion bushels, are down 35 million from 2008-2009. Lower 2009-2010 beginning stocks reflect this month’s 50-million-bushel increases in both ethanol corn use and exports for 2008-2009.

Total U.S. corn use for 2009-2010 is projected up 3% from the current year with higher expected food, seed and industrial (FSI) use and exports more than offsetting a decline in projected feed and residual use. FSI use is projected 7% higher with a 350-million-bushel rise in ethanol corn use accounting for most of the increase. Ethanol use, at 4.1 billion bushels, reflects the rising federal biofuels mandate and improved blending incentives as higher gasoline prices increase demand for ethanol. Ethanol producer returns, however, will remain under pressure as excess production capacity weighs on producer margins.

Exports are projected up 9% as world corn trade and feeding are expected to recover modestly in 2009-2010, partly reflecting a reduction in global supplies of low-cost feed-quality wheat. Domestic corn feed and residual use is projected down 2% with reduced animal numbers and increased availability of distiller’s grains. U.S. corn ending stocks for 2009-2010 are projected down 28% to 1.1 billion bushels as use is expected to exceed production by 470 million bushels. The season-average farm price is projected at $3.70-4.50/bu. compared with the record $4.20 reported for 2007-2008 and the $4.10-4.30 projected for 2008-2009.

Soybean production is projected at 3.2 billion bushels, up 236 million from 2008-2009 reflecting a small increase in harvested area and a trend yield of 42.6 bu./acre. Soybean supplies are projected at 3.3 billion bushels, up 5% from 2008-2009 as smaller beginning stocks partly offset increased production.

The 2009-2010 soybean crush is projected to increase 2% to 1.675 billion bushels, reflecting a small increase in domestic meal use and higher exports. Domestic soybean oil consumption is projected to increase 1% as biodiesel expansion is partly offset by a small decline in food use. Soybean oil used for biodiesel production is projected at 2.2 billion pounds, up 300 million from the revised 2008-2009 estimate of 1.9 billion. Reduced South American supplies, due to drought in Argentina, Paraguay and southern Brazil, are projected to push U.S. soybean exports to a record 1.26 billion bushels. Ending stocks are projected at 230 million bushels, resulting in a relatively low stocks-to-use ratio at 7%.

The U.S. 2009-2010 season-average soybean price is projected at $8.45-10.45/bu., compared with $9.85 in 2008-2009. Soybean meal prices are forecast at $260-320/ton, compared with $305 for 2008-2009. Soybean oil prices are projected at 32.5-36.5¢/lb. compared with 32.5¢ for 2008/09.

Read the full report from USDA.