“Volatile, but generally high prices are expected to persist for an extended period,” he said.

According to Good, the USDA made relatively few changes in the projections of U.S. and world crop supply and consumption in the December report. “Some had expected larger changes, particularly for U.S. corn, but there was no basis for that expectation,” he said.

The December report increased the projection of current marketing year U. S. imports by 5 million bushels, to a total of 15 million, to reflect the record corn crop in Canada. The projection of U.S. year ending stocks was increased by 5 million bushels, to a total of 832 million bushels. That projection represents 6.2 percent of projected marketing year consumption.  

For the rest of the world, the estimate of corn production increased by 0.6 percent for the European Union, 4.3 percent for the Ukraine, 6.5 percent for Canada, and 5.0 percent for India. Those increases were partially offset by a larger world-consumption projection, resulting in a small increase in the projection of year-ending stocks outside of the United States, mostly in the European Union.

For soybeans, the USDA increased the projection of current marketing year U.S. exports by 20 million bushels, to a total of 1.59 billion bushels. The increase reflects the record pace of exports to date and the current large, outstanding export sales of soybeans. The projection of year-ending stocks was reduced by 20 million bushels, to a total of 165 million, representing 4.9 percent of projected consumption.  

For the rest of the world, estimated production was increased for Canada by 10 percent and the European Union by 2.5 percent. The total increase amounted to only 15 million bushels. The projection of world soybean consumption was increased by 58 million bushels and the projection of marketing year ending stocks was reduced by 47 million bushels, or 2.1 percent.  

“While these changes have very little price implication, the renewal of the biodiesel blenders’ tax credit would be very supportive of soybean oil demand,” Good said.

For wheat, the USDA reduced the projection of domestic consumption for food by 10 million bushels and raised the forecast of year-ending stocks by the same amount.  

Good said changes for the rest of the world were a little more substantial. Production estimates were increased for Pakistan by 5.75 percent, Canada by 4.4 percent, and Australia by 6.25 percent.  

“The 55 million-bushel increase for Australia was surprising given the recent extremely wet weather that has interrupted harvest,” he said.  

The world production estimate was increased by 133 million bushels and the projection of year ending stocks was increased by 155 million bushels, or 2.4 percent.