Ukraine spring crops, global corn production and EU grain exports: Top corn market headlines

The headlines on corn prices, grain exports and crop planting from around the globe this week, April 12, 2022

Our team of price reporters brings you the top stories and market movements making headlines in the corn market this week.

Ukraine’s spring crop planting covers 1.5 million hectares so far

Ukraine’s spring sowing campaign advanced by 500,000 hectares, or 2.2 percentage points, from April 7 to 11, according to the latest update from the country’s agriculture ministry.

The update also provided some insight into how the government is supporting farmers with key inputs like fuel, while also highlighting some of the risks that are inherent in this year’s season - including land mines following the Russian invasion that started on February 24.

Overall, the total planted now amounts to almost 8.5% of the area that is projected to be planted with spring crops.

Spring wheat planting advanced by 9.5 percentage points to 68.1% complete of planned plantings to reach 131,800 hectares, versus 64.4% last year. Spring barley planting progressed by 8.1 points to 659,000 hectares or 49.3% of the planned area, versus 79.2% at the same point of last year.

Farmers have already planted 12,900 hectares with spring rapeseed, which accounts for 38.9% of the anticipated area and makes a 4 percentage points advance from last week.

By the same date of 2021, sowing had not yet started.

Corn planting inched forward, with progress registered on 49,900 hectares or 0.9% of the expected area now complete, up from 0.7% last week. Sunflower progressed by 2.1% and was complete on 249,600 hectares, or 3.8%, versus 6% last year. Soybean planting had advanced by 0.3 percentage points to 18,000 hectares or 1.4% of the planned area, against 0.5% last year pace.

Wasde: Global corn production, ending stocks seen higher

The USDA’s April Wasde update for the 2021-2022 corn outlook has increased projections for global corn production and estimates of ending stocks, against analysts’ expectations.

US output and ending stocks were left unchanged.

The USDA now projects that global corn production will reach 1.21 billion tonnes, up 4.31 million on the March estimate.

Global ending stocks are estimated at 305.46 million tonnes, up 4.5 million tonnes from the March figure, while analysts surveyed by Fastmarkets Agricensus expected that the report would project a cut of 500,000 tonnes to 300.4 million tonnes.

The projected increase in ending stocks is mainly on the back of a 2.2 million increase in Ukraine, with small gains expected in the European Union and in Asian nations.

The USDA left projections for Ukraine’s production unchanged at 41.9 million tonnes, but increase the amount expected to be consumed domestically by 2.3 million tonnes to 12 million tonnes and reduced expected exports by 4.5 million tonnes to 23 million tonnes.

Crop projections for Argentina were unchanged at 53 million tonnes, while Brazil’s corn production forecast was up 2 million tonnes at 116 million tonnes.

Industry participants surveyed by Fastmarkets Agricensus before the release expected that the report would show a 1 million tonne cut in Argentine production and a 1.5 million tonnes increase in Brazilian output.

US corn production is estimated at 15 billion bushels (383 million tonnes), unchanged from the March figure.

The projections for the area planted and area harvested were also left unchanged at 93.4 million acres and 85.4 million acres respectively.

EU grain exports to increase by 14% in 2021-2022 to 49 million tonnes

EU grain exports could rise by 14% this year to 49 million tonnes, including an additional 5.6 million tonnes of soft wheat, according to the latest forecast published by the European Commission.

In its spring Short-Term Outlook for EU Agricultural markets, the EC’s department for agriculture and rural development said total 2021-2022 EU cereals production was projected to reach 293.3 million tonnes, a 4.3% increase year-on-year.

“Thanks to a substantial increase in EU cereal production in 2021 and ample availability, EU exports of cereals in 2021-2022, which were already on the rise before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, are forecast to increase by 14% to 48.9 million tonnes,” the report said.

EU grain imports were meanwhile expected to shrink as a result of the war and resulting curtailment of exports from Ukraine and Russia.

These are now forecast at 18.9 million tonnes, down 10% compared with 2020-2021.

Ukraine is the main source of imported corn for the EU, (6.5 million tonnes in 2020-2021) and a key supplier of wheat.

Looking ahead to 2022-2023, the EC said it expected sowing areas to be above the current year, with winter wheat and winter barley expected to cover 20.7 million hectares and 4.8 million hectares respectively, both up 1% on 2021-2022.

The area under corn production was also expected to increase due to the temporary relaxation of ‘greening of land’ rules following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and record-high prices, although no figure was given for this.

Keep up to date with the corn market and trends shaping the agricultural landscape, visit our dedicated corn market page.

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