By Ros Krasny
WASHINGTON, May 9 (Reuters) – The United States is staring down the barrel of a massive jump in soybean supplies in 2014-15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday, in a report that also gave its first survey-based readout of the winter wheat crop.
On the back of a projected record large crop, U.S. soybean stocks will more than double to 330 million bushels in 2014-15 from 130 million in the current marketing year.
Corn, by contrast, is projected to see ample but not overly burdensome supplies in the new year, in part because 2013-14 stocks continue to shrink.
USDA slashed old-crop corn stocks to 1.146 billion bu. from 1.331 billion in April, continuing a string of reductions that dates back to December. For 2014-15 ending stocks were forecast at 1.726 billion bu.
The corn stocks-to-use ratio for 2013-14 is now just 8.4 percent. In general, the lower the ratio, the higher potential for price increases.
Falling supplies show the importance of this year’s U.S. corn crop, at a time when plantings have been hampered by a cold, wet spring. Only 11 percent of U.S. corn was planted as of May 4, versus the five-year average of 42 percent.
U.S. winter wheat production for 2014 will be down nine percent from a year ago, at 1.4 billion bu. The all-wheat crop of 1.963 billion compares with a trade estimate of 2.046 billion and is down eight percent on the year.
“Most of the decline year to year in winter wheat reflects lower area and yields for soft red winter wheat,” said USDA.
Production of SRW wheat, the variety traded in Chicago futures, will plummet by 21 percent while hard red winter wheat output is estimated to rise slightly on the year.
USDA sharply raised its 2013-14 world corn stocks forecast from a month ago, to 168.42 million tonnes, and stocks for the 2014-15 season will be 181.73 million tonnes.
Crisis-hit Ukraine’s corn crop was forecast at 26 million tonnes, down from almost 31 million in 2013-14.