Three weeks ago, a University of Illinois agricultural economist assessed the rate of consumption of corn and soybeans and concluded that corn consumption was progressing too rapidly based on available supplies.

Soybean consumption appeared to have slowed enough so that further rationing was not required.

“Since that assessment, the cash price of corn in central Illinois has increased by 22 cents and soybean prices are up 25 cents. The higher soybean prices have resulted from a 3 percent increase in soybean oil prices. The average cash price of soybean meal in central Illinois has declined by $7.70 per ton, or about 2 percent,” said U of I economist Darrel Good.

Following is an update of the likely pace of consumption. For the 2010-11 marketing year, the USDA projects that 4.9 billion bushels of corn will be used for ethanol production. That is 7.3 percent more than was used in the previous year. Ethanol production during the first five months of the 2010-11 marketing year was 15 percent larger than during the first five months of the previous year, he said.

“The rate of increase slowed modestly in January, but production was still 11 percent larger than in January 2010. There have been reports of a higher-than-average yield of ethanol per bushel of corn this year. Even so, corn use for ethanol production is still proceeding well above the projected level,” he added.

Good said the USDA projects 2010-11 marketing year corn exports at 1.95 billion bushels, 37 million bushels less than exported last year. Cumulative export inspections through the first 22 weeks of the marketing year were reported at 711 million bushels, 6 million larger than inspections of a year ago.

Through January of the 2009-10 marketing year, however, cumulative Census Bureau export estimates exceeded inspections by 63 million bushels. Through November of the 2010-11 marketing year, Census Bureau export estimates were 20 million bushels larger than inspections, he said.