The US Department of Agriculture lowered its 2008-09 average corn price estimate to a range of $3.55 to $4.25/bushel in a 12 January report, 10 cents below the previous month’s estimate. The World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) place this year’s soybean prices at $8.50 to $9.50 per bushel compared with an estimate of $8.25 to $9.75/bushel last month. Soybean meal prices are projected at $250 to $310 per short ton, up $10 on both ends of the range. On wheat, the projected season-average farm price is narrowed 10 cents on both ends of the range to a projection of of $6.50 to $6.90/bushel.

On coarse grains, USDA reduced feed and residual use by 50 million bushels, reflecting lower animal numbers and September-November disappearance as indicated by 1 December stocks. In addition, the department lowered ethanol use by 100 million bushels as sustained negative ethanol production margins have reduced incentives for ethanol output.

Looking at other crops, the sorghum season average farm price is lowered 10 cents to $2.90 to $3.50/bushel; barley narrowed 10 cents to $4.95 to $5.35/bushel; and the estimate for oats was raised 10 cents to $2.90 to $3.10.

The WASDE report reflects a lower meat production estimate from the previous month, with reduced 2009 broiler and pork production. Beef production forecasts for 2009 are unchanged.