U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) export data for the month of September, the first in the 2016/2017 marketing year, showed a dramatic increase in exports of feed grains in all forms, a bright spot in the overall challenging farm economy.
Total feed grains in all forms – which includes corn, sorghum, barley, meats, ethanol and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) – in September were up nearly 34 percent from September 2015.
With 10.7 million metric tons (421 million bushels) of feed grains in one form or another exported, the month was also one of the strongest for exports in recent memory and a hopeful way to begin the new year for farmers and agribusinesses looking at record grain crops. U.S. corn exports in September increased 89 percent to 6.3 million metric tons (248 million bushels) from year ago levels; shipments to Japan, South Korea, Peru and Taiwan more than doubled. The top three customers for U.S. corn in September 2016 were Japan, Mexico and South Korea, respectfully.
Exports of U.S. ethanol also rose sharply as monthly exports hit almost 100 million gallons for the first time since December 2011, up 59 percent from the previous September and representing 903,000 metric tons (35 million bushels) of corn equivalent.
This boom included a return of China to the market after three months of no denatured shipments at all. Overall, Canada, Brazil and China ranked as the top three destinations for U.S. ethanol, and all three saw significant gains from a year ago. Ethanol exports to Singapore and the Philippines increased two fold.
U.S. exports of all three meats included in feed grains in all forms calculations – beef, pork and poultry – also experienced gains in September, with product weight shipments exceeding 600,000 metric tons, up 14 percent from the previous year. These shipments equated to more than 1.8 million tons (71 million bushels) of feed grains.
Exports of U.S. corn gluten feed and corn gluten meal (CGFM) rose almost 10 percent from September 2015. More than 153,000 metric tons of CGFM were exported in September 2016 as opposed to more than 139,000 metric tons in September 2015.
Not every product category experienced an increase in September. Exports of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) decreased 14 percent from the same time last year, from more than 1.15 million metric tons to 990,000 metric tons. This was due largely to reduced sales to China, last year’s top market.
U.S. sorghum exports in September dropped 63 percent from last year, totaling 410,000 metric tons (16 million bushels), also due to reduced sales to China.
U.S. exports of barley dropped 89 percent in September from year-ago levels to 1,700 metric tons (78,000 bushels).