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Compared even to previous month

Agricultural commodity price prospects didn't fare very well in the latest USDA outlook report - at the very time that spring crops' planting was getting underway in southern Texas, a prelude to the 2001-2002 marketing year for farmers.

Specifically, the February-released monthly USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report reflected lowered price expectations from the month before for coarse grains, soybeans and wheat.

Corn and sorghum seeding begins in Texas' Lower Rio Grande Valley during February, with the planting of cotton coming next in March.

Here is a synopsis of commodity supply and demand levels as well as the latest price projections for crops and livestock as found in the Feb. 8 WASDE report, based on the current marketing year condition for each commodityor commodity groups:

Wheat: U.S. 2000/01 ending stocks are up 25 million bushels from January because of reduced exports. Projected exports are lower due to reduced shipments to date and prospects for continued stiff competition in coming months.

The likely price range for wheat is narrowed five cents on each end to $2.60 to $2.70 per bushe. In January, the high-end price was $2.75.

The projected 2000/01 world production of wheat is up slightly from the month before as a larger crop in Australia more than offsets a downward revision for Kazakhstan.

Coarse grains: Projected U.S. 2000/01 ending stocks of corn are up 85 million bushels from last month as larger domestic use only partially offsets reduced exports. The domestic use of corn is raised 15 million bushels due to higher-than-expected ethanol production.

The projected price range for corn is up five cents at the bottom end but down 15 cents on the top side to $1.70 to $1.90 a bu. A month ago, the range was $1.65 to $2.05 a bushel.

World coarse grain supply and use projections are up slightly from last month.

Rice: Only slight changes are made to U.S. supply and use form 2000/01. U.S. exports for 2000/01 are projected at 81 million hundredweight, up one million cwt from last month but down nearly eight million hundredweight from 1999/2000. Rough lice exports are raised 1 million hundredweight to a near-record 26 million hundredweight, nearly the same as in 1999/2000. Exports of rough rice have been brisk to Mexico, Central America and Turkey.

However, the season-average price range for 2000/01 is lowered 0.10 cents per hundredweight on the high end to $5.50 to $5.90 per hundredweight. That compares to a revised price of $5.93 a hundredweightfor the 1999/2000 marketing year.

Global production, imports, exports and ending stocks are increased from a month ago while consumption is lowered slightly.

Oilseeds: U.S. soybean exports for 2000/01 are projected at 960 million bushels, down 15 million from January month, based mainly on larger prospective soybean crops and exports for South America.

U.S. season-average soybean prices for 2000/01 are now projected at $4.50 to $4.80 per bushel, down 20 cents on the top end.

Global oilseed production for the current year is projected at a record 305.1 million metric tons, up 1.7 million tons from last month.

Cotton: Lower disappearance and sharply higher ending stocks characterize February's U.S. 2000/01 projections. Production is unchanged, and a reduction in projected imports results in a marginal decrease in total supply. Ending stocks are raised nearly 10 percent to 4.5 million bales.

The USDA does not issue price projections for cotton.

Globally, this February's world 2000/01 estimates reflect marginally lower production, consumption, and trade of the lint crop.

Livestock, poultry: Projected total meat production for 2001 is virtually unchanged from last month. Beef production is higher as poor forage and weather conditions results in higher-than-expected feedlot placements in early winter, meaning longer feeding times and higher costs for animal owners.

Projected prices for beef cattle and hogs are little changed in 2001. The broiler price forecast is raised due to expected slower production growth.

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