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Agricultural News

USDA Chief Economist Gives Forecast at Outlook Conference

Fri, 24 Feb 2012 16:00:29 CST

USDA Chief Economist Gives Forecast at Outlook Conference
Referring to 2011 as a “very good year for agriculture,” USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber this week outlined what he sees coming in 2012. His forecast included the following:

·         Exports for this year are forecast at $131 billion, down $1 billion from last year, but the second highest on record. Glauber said this reduction reflects record global crop production with weaker prices and export volumes;

·         China became the U.S.’s largest export customer in 2011, buying just under $20 billion in various commodities. Exports in 2012 will drop 15% reflecting that nation’s concentration on bulk commodities like soybeans and cotton; China is expected to purchase 10% of the U.S. soybean crop this year;

·         U.S. corn stocks are expected to increase in 2012 assuming a return to trend yields, with livestock producers seeing increasing margins toward the end of the year; world corn stocks for 2011-2012 have tightened and are estimated at 52.3 days’ use, the lowest since 1973-74;

·         Corn-for-ethanol use is seen flat through the year, forecast down by 21 million bushels for 2011-2012; ethanol production at the end of 2011 is running close to capacity, and U.S. ethanol exports hit record levels in 2011 at 909 million gallons. That figure is expected to drop signaling a 50-million-bushel decrease in corn for ethanol demand this year;

·         Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) enrollments are expected to be down in 2012-2013, with total CRP projected at 30 million acres, 6.8 million less than the peak in 2007-2008, and

·         Corn plantings are expected to hit 94 million acres, with wheat going in on 58 million acres, and soybeans being planted on 75 million acres.



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