USDA’s quarterly grain stocks report showed March 1 corn stocks on the high side of trade expectations, while wheat and soybean stocks were lower than expected.

The March 30 report confirmed trade speculation that high corn prices slowed corn feed usage and boosted wheat feeding slightly during the second quarter of 2007-08.

USDA pegged March 1 U.S. corn stocks at 6.070 billion bushels, compared with trade estimates averaging 6.023 billion bushels in a range from 5.906-6.390 billion bushels.

While corn stocks were down 13.1% from a year earlier, the data indicates 2007-08 corn ending stocks will be higher than USDA’s most recent estimate of 752 million bushels.

The corn stocks data implies record second quarter corn disappearance, up from 1.1% from a year earlier, however, that rate of usage is lower than the rate suggested by USDA supply/demand projections.

March 1 wheat stocks were reported by USDA to be 855 million bushels, below trade estimates that averaged 881 million bushels in a range from 857-901 million bushels.

Wheat stocks were down 12% from the year-earlier level of 972 million bushels.

Implied wheat usage of 460 million bushels for the third quarter of the wheat marketing year was up marginally from a year earlier despite higher wheat prices.

Soybean stocks were also on the low side of trade expectations. USDA pegged March 1 soybean stocks at 1.784 billion bushels versus trade estimates averaging 1.801 billion in a range from 1.765-1.830 billion bushels.

Although lower than trade expectations, March 1 soybean stocks were still up 6.9% from a year earlier and were a record high for the date.

While the stocks data suggests 2007-08 soybean ending stocks may will be moderately lower than USDA’s current projection of 595 million bushels, ending stocks should still be record high.