Agricultural Projections into 2023

By Lee L. Schulz and Chad Hart


Autumn is a transition season in a variety of aspects—schools are fully back in session, college football fires up another season, and agricultural markets shift their focus. For crops, the focus moves from supplies to usage, and for livestock, the market chatter often delves into the outlook for the upcoming year.

USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report outlines the current view for agricultural markets over the next 12 to 18 months. In general, extreme weather events, domestic and international economic concerns, and the continuing rebound in consumption patterns from the COVID-19 disruption have shaped the agricultural storylines. While meat demand remains strong, cattle numbers have declined due to drought and high production costs. Meanwhile, USDA projects growth in the pork and poultry industries and projects a fall in livestock prices in 2023, given the slightly higher production, with the exception of beef. Last year’s drought did not have a major impact on crop production, but this year’s drought seems to have created more crop stress and less crop yield. Crop usage is revealing some of the strain from sustained higher prices—USDA has downgraded the crop usage outlook for the 2023 crops across the board.

For the livestock sector, the 2022 calendar year has been a challenging one. Drought has limited the use of pastures throughout the western United States, forcing the transfer of some cattle (literally looking for greener pastures) and the liquidation of others. Avian influenza reduced chicken and turkey flocks across the country earlier this year. Thus, supply disruptions continue to impact the livestock markets. For the most part, meat demand, both domestic and international, has been robust and has pushed prices higher. However, the pork industry has seen a pullback in international sales, mainly from China; and, while prices are relatively strong, producers continue to face higher feed and labor costs, limiting profitability.

Table 1 shows the current projections for the 2022 and 2023 calendar years in the livestock sector. Overall, meat production in 2022 is set to be just slightly above that of 2021, with beef and broiler increases offsetting a drops in pork and turkey. Annual average prices for all four of the major meat animals are higher in 2022 than in 2021, however the pork and broiler markets have seen prices soften recently. The outlook for 2023 points to lower beef production and increased pork, broiler, and turkey production and the reverse pattern for prices. Total meat supplies will be lower, but there will be greater availability of pork and poultry. Internationally, USDA projects meat trade to decline in 2023, as beef exports are projected to fall by 500 million pounds and pork exports are expected to fall by 100 million pounds, more than offsetting 200 million pounds of poultry export expansion. For poultry, the increase in exports is not enough to offset the larger supplies, so prices are projected to fall. For pork, the combination of slightly higher production and lower exports lead to lower price projections. For beef, the supply reduction is enough to cover the export decline, and beef prices are projected to continue to rise.


Table 1. USDA’s Livestock Projections
Source: USDA (2022).
 ForecastChange from SeptemberForecastChange from SeptemberChange from 2022 to 2023
Production (Billion Pounds)
Meat Prices ($ per Cwt.)
Meat Prices (Cents per Pound)


For the corn and soybean markets, the September and October USDA reports outlined several adjustments to both supply and demand. The supply adjustments incorporated new acreage information from the Farm Service Agency and new survey data from NASS’s farmer and objective yield queries. For both crops, USDA’s new estimates indicate less acreage and less yield. The national corn planted area estimate was decreased by 1.2 million acres to a total of 88.6 million acres. The national average corn yield estimate dropped to 171.9 bushels per acre. Putting together the acreage and yield updates, USDA found evidence to reduce projected corn production by over 500 million bushels, moving below 14 billion bushels for the year. That puts this year’s production over 1 billion bushels below the 2021 total. So corn supplies will be tighter over the next 12 months.

USDA also updated corn usage (see table 2), with cuts impacting the major usage categories. The recent slowdown in ethanol production translated into a 22 million bushel decline in corn grind out of the 2021 crop. However, corn export sales out of the 2021 crop were increased by 21 million bushels and feed usage was higher with the drought. Given the results from the September Grain Stocks Report, USDA set the 2021/22 corn ending stocks at 1.377 billion bushels, well below previous estimates. The reduction in stocks allowed USDA to increase its 2021/22 season-average price estimate to $6.00 per bushel. For the new (2022) crop, feed/residual usage was cut by 50 million bushels, exports declinced by 225 million bushels, and corn usage for ethanol was slashed by 100 million bushels. Overall corn usage is projected to be down by nearly 800 million bushels for the new corn marketing year. The 2022/23 ending stocks are now set at 1.172 billion bushels, down 216 million bushels from August and down 205 million bushels from last year. The 2022/23 season-average price estimate rose to $6.80 per bushel.

Table 2. Corn Supply and Use
Source: USDA (2022).
Marketing Year2021 (9/1/2021 to 8/31/2022)2022 (9/1/2021 to 8/31/2022) 
 EstimateChange from AugustForecastChange from AugustChange from 2021 to 2022
Area Planted(mil. acres)93.3-0.188.6-1.2-4.7
Production(mil. bu.)15,074-4113,895-464-1,179
Beg. Stocks(mil. bu.)1,23501,377-153142
Imports(mil. bu.)24-1502526
Total Supply(mil. bu.)16,333-4215,322-591-1,011
Feed & Residual(mil. bu.)5,7151155,275-50-440
Ethanol(mil. bu.)5,328-225,275-100-53
Food, Seed, & Other(mil. bu.)1,441-41,45009
Exports(mil. bu.)2,471212,150-225-321
Total Use(mil. bu.)14,95611114,150-375-806
Ending Stocks(mil. bu.)1,377-1531,172-216-205
Season-Average Price($/bu.)


Nationally, USDA reduced total planted area for soybeans by 600,000 acres, to 87.5 million acres (see table 3). The national average soybean yield estimate came in at 49.8 bushels per acre, down 2.2 bushels over the last couple of months. Overall, the projection for national soybean production is 4.313 billion bushels, which is a large crop, but not quite as large as last year. Soybean usage adjustments reduced domestic and international consumption. For the 2021 crop, USDA lowered exports, reflecting lower sales into China along with reductions in seed and crush usage. Those changes boosted the 2021/22 ending stocks to 274 million bushels, so stocks rose, but the market remains tight. The 2021/22 season-average price estimate held steady at $13.30 per bushel. For the 2022 crop, the usage reductions spread and grew. The domestic crush expectation dropped by 10 million bushels. So while USDA still expects domestic usage to grow, they cut that estimated growth by 25%. The larger cut hit in exports, with 110 million bushels removed there, based on a combination of greater global supplies and more competition. Despite the losses in usage, 2022/23 ending stocks are projected at 200 million bushels, down 74 million from last month and down 40 million from last year. However, the 2022/23 season-average price slipped to $14.00 per bushel.

Table 3. Soybean Supply and Use
Source: USDA (2022).
Marketing Year2021 (9/1/2021 to 8/31/2022)2022 (9/1/2022 to 8/31/2023) 
 EstimateChange from AugustForecastChange from AugustChange from 2020 to 2021
Area Planted(mil. acres)
Production(mil. bu.)4,465304,313-217-152
Beg. Stocks(mil. bu.)25702744917
Imports(mil. bu.)161150-1
Total Supply(mil. bu.)4,738314,602-169-137
Crush(mil. bu.)2,204-12,235-1031
Seed & Residual(mil. bu.)103-14122-419
Exports(mil. bu.)2,158-22,045-110-113
Total Use(mil. bu.)4,465-184,402-124-63
Ending Stocks(mil. bu.)27449200-45-74
Season-Average Price($/bu.)13.300.0014.00-0.350.70


These projections outline some significant shifts for agricultural markets. During 2021, most agricultural markets were dealing with the combination of record or near-record production and robust demand, a nearly ideal situation for agriculture. The outlook for the end of 2022 and into 2023 paints a much different picture. For beef and corn, supplies will be smaller over the next year, but consumption is shrinking as well. Prices are high across the markets, but the prolonged exposure of consumers to those higher prices is eroding consumption, as reflected in the declines in both domestic use and exports.


US Department of Agriculture. 2022. "World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates."

Suggested citation:

Schulz, L. and C. Hart. 2022. "Agricultural Projections into 2023." Agricultural Policy Review, Fall 2022. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University. Available at