WASHINGTON — The US Department of Agriculture at its virtual Agricultural Outlook Forum Feb. 24-25 forecast lower US sugar production in 2022-23 as a drop in beet sugar outturn more than offset a small increase in cane sugar production.   

The USDA forecast 2022-23 (marketing year begins Oct. 1, 2022) total US sugar production at 9,212,000 tons, raw value, down 2.4% from a record 9,442,000 tons as the forecast for the current 2021-22 marketing year. A 5% decline in forecast beet sugar production more than offset a 1.2% increase in refined cane sugar for next year.

“Beet sugar production is projected at 5.124 million short tons, raw value, based on crop and processing parameters, such as beet pile shrink rate and extraction rate, that are in line with recent historical averages,” the USDA said. 

“Cane sugar production is projected at 4.088 million short tons, raw value, with the assumption of normal weather conditions,” the USDA continued. “Production for Louisiana is forecast a modest increase based on yield and sugar recovery that are comparable with the recent five-year average. Florida’s production is projected at the same level as the 2021-22 output, assuming no extended impacts from last month’s freeze event. Production in Texas is likewise unchanged from 2021-22, matching the recent three-year average.”

The USDA projected sugar deliveries for human consumption at 12,274,000 tons, up 0.6% from 12,200,000 tons forecast for the current year. 

Sugar imports in 2022-23 were projected at 3,060,000 tons, up 1.6% from the February forecast of 3,012,000 tons for the current year. Imports from Mexico were projected at 1,114,000 tons, up 4.6% from 2021-22. Tariff-rate quota imports were forecast at 1,621,000 tons for next year, based on World Trade Organization commitments and including a 99,000-ton shortfall from countries that don’t fill their quotas. The shortfall was forecast at 251,000 tons in the current year.

“After the publication of the March 2022 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, the 2021-22 Mexican export limit is likely to be adjusted, which could affect 2022-23 beginning stocks,” the USDA said. Beginning stocks used in the initial 2022-23 projects were carried forward from the February WASDE report at 1,818,000 tons.

Ending stocks for 2022-23 were projected at 1, 676,000 tons with an ending stocks-to-use ratio of 13.5% compared with 14.7% as the current forecast for 2021-22. Since the USDA balances for a 13.5% stocks-to-use ratio in its long-term projections, imports from Mexico are calculated on a residual basis.