WASHINGTON — The National Agricultural Statistics Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated March 1 stocks of wheat in all positions in the United States at 1,036,572,000 bus, up 327,302,000 bus, or 46%, from 709,270,000 bus in 2008. The March 1, 2009, wheat inventory was the largest since 2002 and marked a dramatic rebound from a year earlier, when the March wheat supply was the lowest since shortly after World War II. The recent five-year average March 1 wheat holdings were 909 million bus.

Disappearance of wheat during the third quarter of 2008-09 (December-February) was 385,802,000 bus, down 36,866,000 bus, or 9%, from 422,668,000 bus during the same span in the previous year. The decrease in usage from a year earlier reflected weakening foreign demand for U.S. wheat. The world turned out a record wheat crop in 2008-09, and competing exporting nations had ample supplies they were able to offer at prices below those asked for U.S. wheat. The U.S.D.A. on March 11 projected U.S. wheat exports in the current marketing year at 980 million bus, down 22% from 1,264 million bus in 2007-08.

Wheat disappearance in the first three quarters of the marketing year (June-February) was 1,768,770,000 bus, down 29,201,000 bus, or 2%, from 1,797,971,000 bus in 2007-08.

The largest regional inventory of wheat on March 1, accounting for 29% of the nation’s total, was held in the hard winter wheat states of the Southwest — Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Texas and Oklahoma. Southwest wheat stocks totaled 305,097,000 bus, up 21,048,000 bus, or 7%, from 284,049,000 bus in 2008. Wheat disappearance from the Southwest during the third quarter totaled 103,450,000 bus, down 24,676,000 bus, or 19%, from 128,126,000 bus in December-February 2007-08. Marketing year-to-date wheat disappearance from the Southwest was 557,775,000 bus, up 19,423,000 bus, or 4%, from 538,352,000 bus in June-February of the previous year. Eight per cent of the Southwest’s March 1 wheat inventory was held on farms compared with 4% a year earlier.

Wheat holdings in the Upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana were estimated at 294,785,000 bus, up 125,053,000 bus, or 74%, from 169,732,000 bus in 2008. Disappearance of wheat from the region during the third quarter totaled 142,333,000 bus, down 18,444,000 bus, or 11%, from 160,777 million bus in December-February 2007-08. Wheat disappearance from the Upper Midwest during the first three quarters of 2008-09 totaled 523,644,000 bus, down 104,320,000 bus, or 17%, from 627,964,000 bus in the previous year.

The Upper Midwest had the largest on-farm holdings of wheat of the principal regions, accounting for 70% of the 280,200,000 bus held on farms in the United States. On-farm holdings in the spring wheat states were estimated at 197,000,000 bus, which accounted for 67% of the region’s wheat inventory. In contrast, on March 1, 2008, 67,400,000 bus, or 40% of the region’s inventory, was held on farms.

March 1 wheat stocks in the key soft red winter wheat states of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan were estimated at 167,784,000 bus, up 75,919,000 bus, or 83%, from 91,865,000 bus a year earlier. December-February wheat usage in the Central states was 32,815,000 bus, down 3,935,000 bus, or 11%, from 36,750,000 bus in 2007-08. Disappearance during the first nine months of the marketing year was estimated at 154,833,000 bus, down 27,895,000 bus, or 15%, from 182,728,000 bus in June-February 2007-08.

The March 1 wheat inventory in the Pacific Northwest — Washington, Oregon and Idaho — was estimated at 118,569,000 bus, up 39,134,000 bus, or 49%, from 79,435,000 bus a year earlier. Wheat disappearance in December-February was 50,799,000 bus, up 1,316,000 bus, or 3%, from 49,483,000 bus in the same span of 2007-08. Wheat disappearance from the region during the first three quarters of the marketing year was 188,021,000 bus, down 30,011,000 bus, or 14%, from 218,032,000 bus during the previous year.

The nation’s stocks of durum on March 1 were estimated at 32,801,000 bus, up 7,643,000 bus, or 30%, from 25,158,000 bus a year earlier. December-February durum disappearance was 11,704,000 bus, down 2,908,000 bus, or 20%, from 14,612,000 bus in the third quarter of 2007-08. June-February durum use was estimated at 60,364,000 bus, down 8,082,000 bus, or 12%, from 68,446,000 bus in the first three quarters of 2007-08.

Corn stocks in the United States on March 1 totaled 6,958,397,000 bus, up 1% from 6,858,722,000 bus a year earlier. Disappearance of corn in December-February (the second quarter of the corn marketing year) was 3,119,167,000 bus, down 9% from 3,419,363,000 bus in the 2007-08 second quarter. Corn disappearance during the first half of the marketing year (September-February) totaled 6,766,991,000 bus, down 10% from 7,482,800 bus in the same span in 2007-08. Fifty-nine per cent of the nation’s corn crop was held on farms on March 1 compared with 55% a year earlier.

March 1 soybean stocks were estimated at 1,301,606,000 bus, down 9% from 1,433,982,000 bus a year earlier. Soybean disappearance during December-February totaled 973,971,000 bus, up 5% from 926,378,000 bus during the second quarter of 2007-08. Disappearance during the first six months of the marketing year totaled 1,862,602,000 bus, up 3% from 1,816,945,000 bus in September-February 2007-08. Producers held 50% of the nation’s soybean crops on farms compared with 41% a year earlier.

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