In a separate report, the USDA lowered the estimate of feed and residual use of corn during the 2009-10 marketing year as a result of the larger than expected Sept. 1 stocks estimate of Sept. 30, he said.

“For the current year, the forecast of corn exports was reduced by 100 million bushels, reflecting the anticipated impact of higher prices and increased competition from Argentina. Some had expected an increase in the forecast of Chinese imports of U.S. corn, but no changes were made in the projected corn balance sheet for China. The forecast size of the 2011 Argentine harvest was increased by 157 million bushels,” he said.

The forecast of feed and residual use was increased by 150 million bushels, to a total of 5.4 billion bushels, he said.

“The USDA argued that apparent use during the first quarter of the year will be boosted by the early harvest that resulted in consumption of new crop corn before Sept. 1, but the argument is not entirely convincing. The combined estimates of feed and residual use of corn for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 marketing years appear too large,” he said.

“Use during the first quarter will not be revealed until the Dec. 1 stocks estimate is released in early January. Some indication of feed use will be revealed in the monthly cattle on feed reports and the weekly reports of egg sets,” he added.

Stocks of corn at the end of the 2010-11 marketing year are forecast at a 14-year low of 902 million bushels, or 6.7 percent of projected consumption, he noted.

“We consider a 5 percent stocks-to-use ratio, as experienced in 1995-96, to be a minimum carryover level. The USDA expects the 2010-11 marketing year average farm price to be in a range of $4.60 to $5.40, well above the previous record of $4.20 during the 2007-08 marketing year,” he said.