USDA is projecting record soybean exports and lower ending stocks for old crop soybeans and corn.

The April 9 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates also projected improved export prospects for old crop cotton and the lowest ending stocks for rice in 10 years.

Projected U.S. soybean exports for 2008-09 were increased 25 million bushels to a record 1.21 billion bushels, reflecting strong year-to-date shipments and outstanding sales, and prospects for reduced export competition from South America as the Argentina soybean crop continues to deteriorate.

Soybean production for Argentina is projected at 39 million tons, down 4 million tons due to lower harvested area and yields. Soybean production for Brazil remains unchanged at 57 million tons.

U.S. soybean ending stocks were reduced 20 million bushels to a projected 165 million bushels, the lowest since 2003-04.

The U.S. season-average soybean price range for 2008-09 is projected at $9.25 to $10.05 per bushel compared with $8.85 to $9.85 per bushel in March.

Corn

U.S. corn ending stocks for 2008-09 were projected 40 million bushels lower in April as higher expected feed and residual use more than offset a reduction in food, seed, and industrial use. The 2008-09 season-average farm price for corn is projected at $4.00 to $4.40 per bushel, up 10 cents on both ends of the range. This compares with the 2007-08 record of $4.20 per bushel. The projected sorghum farm price was raised 10 cents on both ends of the range to $3.15 to $3.45 per bushel.

Cotton

Last year’s cotton production estimate was lowered 206,000 bales from March based on USDA’s final Cotton Ginnings report, released March 25.

Domestic mill use was lowered 100,000 bales to 3.65 million bales, as mill use reported for February fell sharply.

However, exports were raised 500,000 bales, reflecting recent strong export sales and shipments.

Ending stocks are now estimated at 6.7 million bales, or 41.5 percent of total use. The forecast season-average price range is 47 to 51 cents per pound.

World cotton consumption was reduced 1.2 percent, due to decreases for China and others. Estimated world ending stocks of 63.4 million bales were slightly above both the March estimate.

Wheat

U.S. wheat ending stocks for 2008-09 were projected 16 million bushels lower in April. Imports were projected 5 million bushels higher mostly reflecting the pace of hard red spring and durum wheat imports from Canada. The 2008-09 season-average farm price was projected up 10 cents on the lower end of the range to $6.80 to $6.90 per bushel. This is well above the previous record of $6.48 per bushel in 2007-08.

e-mail: erobinson@farmpress.com