May WASDE Shows 14 Billion Bushels of US Corn in 2018

Today, we got the USDA’s first projections for the 2018/19 crop. These give grain markets an idea of corn production and demand.

Today, we got the USDA’s first projections for the 2018/19 crop. In addition to giving grain markets an idea of what production numbers are going to be around the world, they also gave us a look at the demand side.

Here’s our breakdown of the numbers.

The USDA’s May WASDE report showed the market that American farmers will produce 14 billion bushels of corn in 2018. This is 4.2% lower than last year’s 14.6 billion bushels of corn that were taken off by farmers.

Compared to the five-year average of 14.3 billion bushels, 2018/19 American corn production is 2.1% lower.

10/5/2018 US Corn Production

Going into the report, the average guesstimate for US corn was 14.1 billion bushels. Thus, the market could be interpreting today’s number as relatively neutral.

From a demand perspective, we can just look to ending stocks to get an idea of where we sit. For American corn, 2018/19 carryout is expected to come in at 1.7 billion bushels. This is 25.6% below the 2.2 billion bushels of corn that the 2017/18 crop year is supposed to end with.

Looking more global, corn production is expected to climb 1.9% year-over-year to 1.1 billion tonnes. 

Here’s a breakdown of some of the major producing countries with their change year-over-year:

  • United States: 356.6 million tonnes (-4.2% YoY);
  • China: 225 million tonnes (practically unchanged year-over-year);
  • Brazil: 96 million tonnes (+10%);
  • Argentina: 41 million tonnes (+21%);
  • Ukraine: 30  million tonnes (+24%)
  • Canada: 15.3 million tonnes (+8.5%)
  • South Africa: 14 million tonnes (+3.7%)

From a global carryout perspective, 2018/19 is forecasted by the USDA to end with 159.2 million tonnes. This is down 20.2% year-over-year and well below the pre-report average guesstimate of 182.8 million tonnes.

The other key takeaway today is the change in South American corn production. 

The USDA projected an uptick in Argentine and Brazilian corn output in the year ahead.

About the Author
Brennan Turner

Brennan Turner is the CEO of, North America’s Grain Marketplace. He holds a degree in economics from Yale University and spent time on Wall Street in commodity trade and analysis before starting FarmLead. In 2017, Brennan was named to Fast Company’s List of Most Creative People in Business and, in 2018, a Henry Crown Fellow. He is originally from Foam Lake, Saskatchewan where his family started farming the land nearly 100 years ago (and still do to this day!). Brennan's unique grain markets analysis can be found in everything from small-town print newspapers to large media outlets such as Bloomberg and Reuters.