he U.S. Department of Agriculture in both its October and November World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates forecast U.S. corn exports in 2011-12 at 1,600 million bus (40.64 million tonnes). The forecast was 300 million bus lower than the U.S.D.A.’s July projection for the current year and 235 million bus, or 13%, lower than the U.S. corn outgo of 1,835 million bus in 2010-11. If the forecast is realized, U.S. corn exports in the current marketing year would be the lowest since 1,588 million bus in 2002-03 and would be off 34% from the U.S. record corn exports at 2,437 million bus in 2007-08.

The U.S.D.A. in its November Feed Outlook issued last week comment-ed, "Export inspections data for October indicate shipments slower than a year earlier, but out-standing export sales at the beginning of November were 15 million tonnes, up 2.4 million tonnes from year ago. Future sales of U.S. corn are expected to be limited by high U.S. prices and strong competition from foreign grain."

The United States is the world’s largest corn exporter. Argentina is the second-largest exporter. The U.S.D.A. forecast Argentina’s exports in 2011-12 at 20 million tonnes, up 0.5 million tonnes from its October forecast and up 5 million tonnes from the previous year. Argentina’s 2011-12 production was forecast at 29 million tonnes, up 1.5 million tonnes from the October projection and up 29% from 22.5 million tonnes in 2010-11. Meanwhile, corn production in the world’s largest corn-importing countries was forecast at 112.03 million tonnes, up from 106.7 million tonnes in the previous year.

In addition to more exportable supply in key competing countries and higher production in the major corn-importing countries themselves, U.S. corn confronted a large increase in wheat feeding. World wheat production in 2011-12 was projected to be the second-highest on record, and some analysts suggested once all the figures are tallied, the crop may set a new record. There were ample supplies of wheat available to be fed at prices undercutting export corn values in several markets. World feed use of wheat in 2011-12 was forecast at 126.42 million tonnes, up 12% from 112.49 million tonnes during the previous year. Wheat feed use was forecast to be the second-highest on record following only 130.09 million tonnes in 1990-91.