The overall outlook for US corn, soybeans and wheat in 2024 is for larger supplies only partially met by increased domestic use and firming global demand.

That preliminary forecast from the Interagency Commodity Estimates Committee was presented during the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 100th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum by Jake Vuillemin, an agricultural economist with the USDA’s Economic and Policy Analysis Division.

Vuillemin set the stage for the outlook reminding attendees about the macroeconomic factors underpinning markets in 2024. Economic growth is expected to continue across the globe, in many cases at a quicker clip than in 2023, supporting global demand growth for wheat, corn and soybeans. Inflation is expected to continue moderating from a peak of 8% in 2022 to 3% in 2024 and 2% in 2025.

The US dollar also is off its highs of 2022 as the Federal Reserve to continues to retreat from its aggressive course in fighting inflation, he said. But the dollar remains historically strong, which can create headwinds in exporting crops. Dramatic increases in crop input costs, namely fertilizer, during the buildup to Russia’s initial invasion of Ukraine and for about 18 months afterward, have moderated back to levels seen before the war, but are unfortunately accompanied by diminished forward pricing opportunities for many agricultural commodities, he said.

USDA forecasts for 2024-25 carryover stocks of wheat, corn and soybeans for the world less China are, in total, projected 7% higher than in 2023-24. Global stocks of corn and soybeans are expected to see large increases, Vuillemin said, with corn stocks up 17% following the record US corn crop in 2023-24 and soybean stocks up 15% after a recovery in Argentina’s production. By contrast, global wheat carryover stocks are expected to be lower for a fourth consecutive year, despite the US wheat carryover projected 15% higher.

Season-average farm prices are expected to decline for a second year, corn down 40¢ a bushel, soybeans down $1.40 a bushel, and wheat prices down $1.20 from 2023-24. Factoring those declines and assuming normal weather during planting for row crops this spring, the USDA projects the wheat-corn-soybeans area to total 225.5 million acres for 2024-25, down 2.3 million acres from the current marketing year, close to the average of 2021-23, but down 4.5 million acres from the past five-year average. Wheat acres, forecast down 5% to 47 million acres, are projected to see the biggest decline, followed by corn acres down 4% to 291 million acres while soybean acres are expected to jump 5% to 87.5 million acres on increased demand for soybean oil, biofuel and expanding crush capacities.

Driving the recent downtrend in wheat acres is winter wheat planted area down 6% from 2023, with Montana the sole production state to post an increase among the top five production states. Winter wheat acres typically comprise two-thirds of domestic wheat acres.

A comparison of the average settlement price in 2024 of November soybean future and December corn future show that new crop prices favor expanded soybean acres at the expense of corn acres, Vuillemin said, noting the ratio is higher than the past two years, but below 2021. Lower fertilizer prices limited the decline in corn acres, he said.

Vuillemin issued his outlook for 2024 balance sheets by crop.


Corn supplies in 2024-25 are projected at a record 17.2 billion bushels, with lower production (forecast at 15 billion bushels, down 2% from 2023’s record high) more than offset by sharply higher beginning stocks, he said. Production is based on 83.1 million harvest acres, about 91% of planted acres, a trend yield of 181 bushels an acre, with normal planting and summer crop development.

Domestic use, carryout and exports all are expected to increase, the latter forecast up 2% to 2.2 billion bushels on relatively firm global demand and lower US prices, but limited by stiff competition, especially from South American producers, he said. Increased driving and gasoline consumption will spur a marginal 25-million-bushel increase in ethanol use is expected. The corn carryout following 2024-25 is forecast at 2.5 billion bushels, the highest in 35 years, and a stock-to-use ratio of 17%, the highest since 2005-06, Vuillemin said.

Global corn trade had increased 65 million tonnes since 2014-15. While the increase largely has been driven by Chinese demand, there also has been growth in European Union, Mexico and Vietnam demand. Of the corn exporting countries, Brazil has seen the biggest growth in the past 10 years, followed by Argentina, Vuillemin said. US corn exports are projected 15% higher than in trade year 2014-15.


US soybean production is forecast at a record 4.5 billion bushels in 2024-25, up 8% from the current crop year, based on an expanded yield projection of 52 bushels an acre, Vuillemin said. Along with current carry-in estimates, that puts total domestic soybean supplies at the second highest on record after the 2018-19 crop year, assuming normal planting and crop development weather.

Expectations for increased supply back an outlook for continued growth in soybean crush, some recovery in export volume and an increased carryout after the crop year. Exports are projected up 9% to 1.9 billion bushels on global demand growth while crush is expected at 2.4 billion bushels, up 4% from the current crop year and a fourth consecutive record high supported by domestic biofuel demand driven by a growing federal mandate and state programs, including a surge in the share of biofuel in California’s diesel pool, Vuillemin said.

Soybean oil’s share of crush value has increased to between 40% and 45% over the past five years, with accompanying record soybean meal production finding homes in the export market, he said. A fresh soybean meal record-high production is expected in 2024-25, he said.


Total domestic wheat supplies are forecast at nearly 2.7 billion bushels, up 6% from 2023-24 in reflection of a carry-in of 658 million bushels on lackluster exports in the current year, and production forecast 5% higher than in 2023 despite a smaller planted area on improved moisture conditions in key wheat growing areas.

Drought is far less severe than a year ago in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and Montana. That has raised yield expectations to 49.5 bushels an acre, up 2% from the previous crop year, and improved the harvested ratio to about 82%, up from 75% last year when poor conditions led to increased abandonment, Vuillemin said. Harvested acres are projected at 38.4 million acres, up 3%.

Domestic food use of wheat is expected to remain steady, while exports could rise 7% to 775 million bushels. Still, exports look to remain historically low, backing an outlook for a carryover on June 1, 2025, at 770 million bushels, up 17% from 2024.

“To provide a little context to the difficulty US wheat has faced in global markets (look at) the top five exporters and their shipments over the past 10 years,” Vuillemin said. “US wheat shipments have not picked up despite disruptions caused by the war in Russia and Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russia has dramatically increased wheat exports over the past several years and pulled away from the pack. In the most recent trade year, they are expected to ship 14.5 million more tonnes of wheat than the second-place European Union, which has itself seen a steady rise in trade over the past few years. This very competitive environment has made it very difficult for the US to gain market share, particularly given the price sensitivity of some of the customers served by Russia and the EU.”