USDA Grain Stocks Report Preview

September 25, 2018

Friday the United States Department of Agriculture will tally how much of last year’s corn and soybean crops are still left in the bin around the nation.

The Grain Stocks report is more of a census of what’s on hand than an estimate. This is because USDA collects information from more than 9000 grain elevators, terminals, and other storage facilities around the United States. It helps them to determine the total number of last year’s bushels on hand as of the first day of September. University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Todd Hubbs says his calculations aren’t far off from what USDA has already projected the report should show, “For corn, in particular, it will come down to the feed and residual number and how much feed was used in the fourth quarter of the 2017/18 marketing year and it looks like soybeans are on track to hit the projection USDA currently has.”

USDA’s ending stocks figure from the September World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates report for soybeans is 395 million bushels. Hubbs calculations is 4 million bushels larger but still very close to that figure. Because soybeans aren’t fed directly to livestock it is much easier to keep track of the total numbers of bushels used. That is not the case for corn.

The feed and residual figure often times will vary outside of expectations says Hubbs, “I have the USDA’s feed and residual use, to meet their current projection at 754 million bushels. My projection, using historical data with large livestock herds, in conjunction with the price of wheat and distillers grains, puts the fourth quarter feed and residual at 725 million bushels. This is quite a jump over last year. It’ll really come down to what that number is in the fourth quarter to determine what the end of year corn stocks will be, but right now I do not see a strong deviation from the USDA’s current ending stocks number. So, I wouldn’t expect much of a price reaction from the September 1 corn stocks report this year.”

USDA’s corn current ending stocks projection is 2.002 billion bushels. Hubbs’ number is just a little bigger at 2.02 billion. The Grain Stocks report is scheduled for release at 11am central time this coming Friday.