Mercaris, a market data and auctions startup that is helping to grow organic and non-GMO agriculture in the U.S., released March 13 its monthly market update outlining the current state of organic corn and soybean production and imports in the U.S.
U.S. organic corn production reached nearly 42 million bushels last year, experiencing a 2% year-over-year (y/y) increase that was boosted by acreage expansion in the 2018/2019 marketing year. Yields held mostly even with the prior year, Mercaris noted.
Mercaris estimates that through the first six months of the 18/19 MY whole and cracked organic corn imports reached 8.6 million bu., up 48% y/y. As a result, total organic corn supplies through the first half of 18/19 are estimated at 50 million bu., up 8% y/y. Altogether, U.S. organic corn supplies are entering the second half of 18/19 more abundant than last year, the company noted.
In contrast, U.S. organic soybean production achieved double-digit growth exceeding 8 million bu., supported by both acreage and yield increases. However, Mercarise said that following a significant reduction in U.S. whole organic soybean imports, total U.S. supplies are down 9% through the first half of the marketing year —even with the increase in U.S. production last year.
Conversely, Mercaris relayed that organic soybean meal imports have been on the rise, nearly providing a total offset for the decline in whole bean imports. As imports still account for a substantial portion of U.S. organic soybean supplies, Mercaris said the shift in trade preferences has left total U.S. organic supplies up only 4% y/y — a smaller percentage than the growth in domestic production alone.
“Overall, domestic supplies pulled off another year of growth last year,” said Kellee James, founder and chief executive officer at Mercaris. “But as U.S. import preferences continue to shift, organic soybeans may be the riskier market for the remainder of 18/19. We’ll continue to monitor these changes and provide further insights as events develop this year.”