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Foreign Traders Increase Corn Exports

(Wednesday, March 12, 2003 -- CropChoice news) WASHINGTON (Associated Press) -- Foreign traders are increasing their corn exports, which means the amount of U.S. corn in storage is stacking up this month, the Agriculture Department said Tuesday.

There are an estimated 1 billion bushels of U.S. corn in storage, up 75 million from last month. U.S. corn exports fell 75 million bushels to 1.75 billion.

Most of the corn grown in the United States is raised for farm animals to eat. The slowdown in U.S. corn exports likely won't affect consumer food prices, but economists project the price this year for farmers will fall about 10 cents to $2.30 per bushel.

Brazil is a key competitor for the United States. It is harvesting its crop now and is expected to increase corn exports to 2 million metric tons this month, up 500,000 over last month.

The department also predicts Argentina will increase exports to 10 million metric tons, up 400,000 since last month.

China is predicted to raise corn exports by 1 million tons to 12 million. It also is increasing U.S. soybean imports to a record 16 million tons this month, up 1 million from last month. That will help reduce stockpiles of U.S. soybeans to 160 million bushels, 5 million less than last month.

The United States is forecast to export 960 million bushels of soybeans this year.

In weather, the department said underground soil conditions remain very dry in the Southwest, Rocky Mountains and Great Plains, raising concerns that the severe drought that burned crops last year will persist. Water reservoirs are low, and department officials worry that there will be a shortage.

Too much precipitation fell on other states, a setback for some farmers. Georgia growers have had to delay planting onions, and North Carolina producers must rely on grain purchases to feed their livestock because pastures were soaked.

On the Net:

USDA Crop Reports: http://www.usda.gov/nass