Sorting grain

The March World Agriculture Supply & Demand Estimates (WASDE) was released this week and there was some tinkering around the edges, but no major changes were reported. In fact, the biggest production change was an increase in Australian wheat, bringing it in line with ABARES estimates.

Leading up to the release, analysts were expecting additional reductions to US projected ending stocks this month, however there were no changes of note for US corn, soybeans and wheat.  

Summary by Crop


  • Australian wheat production estimates were increased by 3 Mmt to 33 Mmt. 2020/21 export estimates were also increased by 2 Mmt to 22 Mmt.
  • Global production estimates rose by ~3.5 Mmt to a new record of 776.8 Mmt, largely due to higher production estimates from Australia. World consumption estimates increased 6.6 Mmt due to higher projected feed and residual use for China. 2020/21 export estimates also increased for Canada (+0.5 Mmt) due to the continued strong export pace seen to date, with resulting import changes for China (+0.5 Mmt) and Pakistan. Projected 2020/21 world ending stocks were lowered 3 Mmt due to higher Chinese consumption expectations. China and India still hold 50% (on paper) and 9% of global ending stocks respectively.


  • The US corn stocks to use ratio remains at its lowest level since 2013/14 (10.3%).
  • Global production estimates rose slightly, driven in part by a further increase in projected 2020/21 production for South Africa by +0.5 Mmt. South African production estimates were raised in February as well due to increased area and higher yields. Global 2020/21 corn import estimates increased (~1 Mmt) mostly due to increased imports for Southeast Asian destinations. 2020/21 Brazilian and Argentine production estimates were unchanged, and 2020/21 Chinese import estimates were also unchanged.


  • The US 2020/21 soybean stocks to use ratio remained equivalent to the previous record low level set in 2013/14 (2.6%).
  • Projected 2020/21 global ending stocks increased slightly (+0.5 Mmt) due to increased production estimates, which were only partially offset by consumption and trade changes. Of note projected 2020/21 soybean production in Argentina was lowered by 0.5 Mmt to 47.5 Mmt, which is lower than the prior year’s production of 48.8 Mmt. Argentina remains dry and is expected to be dry in key growing regions for the next 7-days which will continue to stress the crop. 2020/21 Brazilian soybean production estimates increased by 1 Mmt to 134 Mmt. Brazilian soybean production has become a concern recently as the heavy rainfall is reported to have lowered crop quality in some growing areas, although it is uncertain as to how much this could impact total production at this point. There is likely to be further changes to 2020/21 Brazilian production estimates in the coming months. 2020/21 Chinese import estimates were unchanged this month.


What does it mean?

After a pretty neutral release, in the hours following spot corn futures were down ~1 cent/bu and spot soybean futures were up ~6 cents/bu. Although on last report corn futures had moved lower (down 3% since the 8th) and soy higher (up 2% since the 8th).

Spot wheat futures were initially up ~10 cents/bu due to the tighter global ending stock estimates vs the last report, however, have since slid lower. After two consecutive months of little change in the WASDE, expectations are that demand revisions will still need to be made, with some insight to come from the US grain stocks report later in the month.

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Key Points

  • No changes were made to US ending stocks of corn, soybeans and wheat.
  • Australian wheat production estimates were lifted to 33 Mmt.
  • Projected 2020/21 world ending stocks of wheat were lowered due to higher Chinese consumption expectations.

Click on figure to expand

Click on figure to expand

Click on figure to expand

Data sources:  USDA, Nutrien, Mecardo

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