USDA Predicts Lower Steer Prices in Second Half of 2024

by Andy Schwab

USDA on Friday forecast farmers this spring are planting what will become a 14.86-billion-bushel corn crop and a 4.45-billion-bushel soybean crop. The department released the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report for May, which includes the first detailed forecast for the 2024-25 corn and soybean crops and was the first Crop Production report. Friday’s U.S. ending stocks estimates were slightly bullish for corn and neutral for soybeans and wheat, according to DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman.

Wheat

USDA estimates 2024-2025 U.S. wheat production at 1.858 billion bushels in May’s report, an increase from 1.659 bb last May. USDA estimates U.S. wheat 2024-2025 ending stocks at 766 million bushels as total use for the new crop is estimated at 1.899 bb.

Winter wheat production is forecast at 1.28 billion bushels, up 2% from 2023. That is the highest estimate since 1.28 bb in 2021. That comes on the heels of the United States yield forecast of 50.7 bushels per acre, up 0.1 bushel from last year’s average yield and the area expected to be harvested for grain or seed totals 25.2 million acres, up 2% from last year.

Corn

USDA pegged the 2024-25 “new crop” for corn at 14.86 billion bushels (bb) with a 181-bushel-per-acre (bpa) yield on 90 million planted acres. For demand, USDA projected total Feed and Residual use at 5.75 bb, ethanol use is forecast at 5.45 bb, and total domestic use is forecast at 12.605 billion bushels.

Exports for the 2024-25 crop are forecast at 2.2 billion bushels while ending stocks for the new crop are projected at 2.102 billion bushels.

Livestock

Friday’s WASDE report shared mixed news for the cattle and beef markets, said DTN Livestock Analyst ShayLe Stewart. Beef production for 2024 was increased as heavier carcass weights and faster chain speeds are leading to greater production totals. Beef production in 2024 is expected to total 25,595 million pounds — up 140 million pounds from last month’s report.

Projected steer prices fell for the three remaining quarters of 2024. Steer prices in the second quarter are now expected to average $184 (down $1 from last month), third-quarter prices are expected to average $182 (down $2 from last month) and fourth-quarter prices are expected to average $187 (down $3 from last month).

2024 beef imports fell by 4 million pounds, but exports grew by 13 million pounds as the first of 2024 sold more product than originally assumed.

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DTN / USDA – 2024

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