Iowa Public Television


USDA January Crop Report A Mixed Bag

posted on January 14, 2005

The number of farmers around the globe who plant genetically altered crops continues to rise. A new report by two philanthropic groups found that eight million farmers in 17 countries grew biotech crops on 200 million acres last year. That's a 20 percent jump in acreage over 2003. The three biggest biotech crop producers last year were the United States, Argentina, and Canada.

It's fortunate for farmers that world demand could sustain markets for biotech, as well as conventional crops. And as the latest USDA numbers issued this week point out, there was no shortage of supply to meet that demand.

USDA January Crop Report A Mixed Bag USDA's January crop report hit the streets this week, but provided few surprises. In a nutshell, traders saw the wheat numbers as friendly, corn estimates as bearish, and the soybean report as neutral.

USDA placed soft red winter wheat seeding at just 6.6 million acres, well below trade guesses and some 19 percent less than last year's acreage. Hard red winter wheat seeding also was trimmed.

While the reduced acreage was seen as friendly to prices in the short-term, any long-term gains will be muted by increased world ending-stocks.

The corn numbers were not as positive, with USDA putting the final 2004 production total at 11.807 billion bushels. That's 66 million bushels higher than the December estimate.

In addition, domestic and world ending-stocks were raised. The domestic carryout of 9.45 billion bushels was the highest December total since 1987.

In soybeans, both the final 2004 production total and the estimate for U.S. ending-stocks were trimmed slightly. Even with the reduction, USDA says farmers last fall harvested a record crop of 3.141 billion bushels.

On the global stage, world ending-stocks of soybeans were raised slightly, while the forecast for a record South American harvest was left unchanged.

Tags: agriculture crops government markets news trade USDA