Feed grain production increases in 2009-10

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON — U.S. feed grain production for 2009-10 is forecast at 346.2 million tons, up from 344.8 million last month. The increase reflects additions in corn, barley and oats production but a reduction in sorghum production, according to the U.S.D.A. Economic Research Service’s most recent Feed Outlook.

Yields per harvested acre for the four grains combined are increased slightly to 3.87 metric tons per acre, compared with 3.81 metric tons last month. Beginning stocks in 2009/10 are lowered slightly to 47.1 million tons.

Total 2009-10 feed grain supply is forecast at 395.8 million tons, up from 394.6 million last month and up from 373.9 million in 2008-09. Total 2009-10 feed grain utilization is projected at 348.6 million tons, down from 349.0 million last month, but up from 326.9 million in 2008-09.

Feed needs for all the livestock classes are down from 2008-09 because producers are reducing livestock numbers as measured by grain-consuming animal units (G.C.A.U.). Cattle on feed G.C.A.U.s in 2009-10 are down 694,000 units from last year. Cattle numbers were down 1% from last year and marketings of fed cattle were the lowest on record for August, according to the September Cattle on Feed report.

Slow marketings usually mean heavier cattle consuming more feed, and slaughter weights were up in September. Milk producers have been selling dairy cows to try to cut milk production and increase prices.

The Quarterly Hogs and Pigs study released Sept. 25 indicates producers plan to farrow fewer sows for the rest of 2009 and into 2010. Coupled with fewer imports of hogs from Canada, this will result in a lower production forecast. The lower pork production reduced pork G.C.A.U.s and suggests feed needs should be lower.

Compared to last year’s totals, poultry G.C.A.U.s are also down and less than the red meats. Livestock and poultry producers are struggling with weak demand for their products, and large supplies of meat and high feed costs continue to pressure prices, E.R.S. relays.

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