USDA’s Quarterly “Grain Stocks” report for March 1 that was issued yesterday found the corn inventory about 400 million bushels more than the average pre-report trade estimate. March 1 corn stocks totaled 5.4 billion bushels. The significant higher level of corn stocks on March 1 suggests to analysts that there will be a corresponding significant increase in USDA’s 2012-13 ending corn carryover. The department’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report on April 10 will likely confirm that likelihood.

Corn stocks in all positions as of March 1 were down 10 percent from year-ago with on-farm stocks down 16 percent and off-farm stocks down 4 percent from year-ago. Indicated use in the second-quarter of the 2012-13 marketing year was 2.63 billion bushels, a 1-billion-bushel slowdown in use, compared with the second-quarter of the 2011-12 marketing year. That usage is the slowest second-quarter corn use since 2003.

The slow usage pace is supported by a four-decade-low in corn exports. However, feed use and corn-for-ethanol use estimates were probably too strong in the second quarter to allow total use to slide that low, ProFarmer magazine explained. The stock level suggests USDA may have underestimated the 2012 corn crop. Prices have definitely stayed high enough, long enough to dramatically slow corn use, the magazine noted. The job of the market will be to find the (lower) price that restarts corn use, the report noted.

Soybean stocks on March 1 were down 27 percent from year ago at 999 million bushels. On-farm soybean stocks were down 18 percent from a year-ago and off-farm stocks were down 34 percent as of March 1. Indicated soybean use in the second-quarter of the 2012-13 marketing year was 967 million bushels, a 3 percent slowdown from a year ago.