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Report Predicts Tight Supplies

posted on April 11, 2008

Trade is shaping up to be a key issue in the upcoming presidential campaign and in the fight for control of Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week essentially delayed a vote on a free trade agreement with Columbia until next year, when Democrats expect to elect a president with different trade priorities.

For decades, agriculture has represented one of the few bright spots in an otherwise gloomy picture of U.S. trade. This year is no exception as farm exports have risen to record levels.

This week, the Agriculture Department released its April supply and demand estimates, projecting some of the tightest ending stocks in years.

Report Predicts Tight Supplies The forecast for 2007-2008 U.S. corn ending stocks is set at 1.28 billion bushels. Ethanol production, which was expected to be a factor, has slowed but feed needs and exports have taken up the slack. That's down 150 million bushels from last month's prediction but only about 20 million bushels under last year.

Domestic wheat stocks are expected to fill the bin only half as high as last year. So far, predictions for the 2007-2008 crop year project 242 million bushels of wheat will be left at the end of the season -- about 50 percent less than last year. The bigger story was found in the world supply of the small grain. USDA is predicting global stocks will be 1.3 billion bushels lower than last year setting the bar at a thirty year low.

Soybean numbers for the U.S. are predicted to be down nearly two thirds from last season leaving only a thin sliver remaining when compared to the 2006-2007 crop year. Current predictions show stocks at the end of April hitting 160 million bushels, up 20 million from last month but off more than 400 million when compared to last year.

While many analysts say this month's report contained few surprises, the projections have lead some farmers to reconsider their planting intentions.

Tags: crops markets news