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Cotton crop, stocks grow

USDA raised estimated old crop cotton production nearly 400,000 bales from last month, pushing last year's crop to 19.4 million bales. The increase, reported in USDA's April 9 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, is based on the final Cotton Ginnings report released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service in late March.

Domestic mill use for cotton was raised 100,000 bales to 4.7 million bales due to higher than anticipated activity in recent months.

Forecast ending stocks were raised 300,000 bales to 9.7 million bales, slightly above last season and the highest level since 1966-67. World stocks are raised by slightly less than 1 percent.

U.S. corn ending stocks for 2007-08 were projected 155 million bushels lower as increases in feed and residual use and exports more than offset a reduction in corn use for ethanol — projected 100 million bushels lower as the pace of new plant startups is lagging earlier expectations. However, rising ethanol prices continue to support profitability in ethanol.

World coarse grain stocks are projected lower largely due to the reduction projected for U.S. corn ending stocks.

While no changes were made to the U.S. 2007-08 rice supply and use projections, the season-average farm price was raised 20 cents per hundredweight to $12.05 to $12.35 per hundredweight, compared to $9.96 per hundredweight for 2006-07.

Global rice production was raised 2.4 million tons. Global imports were lowered nearly 2 million tons due primarily to the impact of higher global prices, export bans and restrictive policies among many of the leading exporters including Egypt, India, and Vietnam.

U.S. soybean exports for 2007-08 were increased 50 million bushels to 1.075 billion bushels this month, reflecting strong year-to-date shipments. Despite record high soybean prices, exports have remained strong, especially to China, where imports from the United States are likely to exceed the 2004-05 record.

U.S. soybean ending stocks were raised 20 million bushels to 160 million bushels, down sharply from the record level set in 2006-07.

Feed and residual use for old crop wheat was projected 50 million bushels lower due to lower-than-expected use for December through February. Exports were projected 50 million bushels higher due to strong export sales and shipments. USDA projects a season-average farm price of $6.55 to $6.75 per bushel.

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