Fiscal 2012 agricultural exports are forecast at $134.5 billion, up $3.5 billion from the February forecast, but $2.9 billion below final fiscal 2011 exports, according to USDA’s most recent “Outlook for Agricultural Trade.”

U.S. import demand continues to be strong, lifting estimated import value by $1 billion to $107.5 billion from the $106.5 billion projected in February. Increases are forecasted for vegetable oils, oilseeds, oilmeal, bulk grains, and beef and veal imports.

Fiscal 2012 grain and feed exports are forecast at $34.6 billion, up $600 million from the February 2012 forecast. Upward revisions in wheat, rice and feeds and fodders more than offset lower corn values. Wheat is boosted nearly $500 million to $8.5 billion on sharply increased volume, although lower values are a dampening factor. The rise reflects strong shipments expected during the fourth quarter.

Competition from other exporters will be limited during the summer, giving the U.S. increased market opportunities for the new crop. The forecast export value for coarse grains is lowered $600 million to $13 billion, mostly due to corn. Corn prices are expected to weaken in the face of a record crop and greater competition, especially from Brazil. Feeds and fodders are up $300 million, primarily corn gluten feed and meal, on both volume and value. Distillers dried grains (DDGS) are up slightly based on shipments to China in recent months. Rice exports are up $200 million to $2.1 billion on the rapid pace of sales to Northeast Asia as well as South and Central America since March.

U.S. prices are higher on tighter stocks and reports of lower planted area as farmers switch to more profitable crops. The fiscal 2012 forecast for oilseeds and products is raised $1.4 billion to $26.4 billion. Significant crop losses in South America have strengthened U.S. unit prices and raised export prospects for soybeans and soybean meal. Limited U.S. exportable supplies of soybean oil due to strong domestic demand, leaves the export forecast unchanged.

The fiscal 2012 cotton export forecast is raised $200 million to $6.4 billion. A slightly higher export volume is driven by stronger import demand by China, which is purchasing domestic supplies for the State reserve.

The expected average export unit value is unchanged. The fiscal 2012 export forecast for livestock, poultry and dairy is raised over $400 million to a record $29.6 billion. Gains in dairy, poultry, pork and variety meats more than offset declines in other animal products.

Dairy products are raised $300 million on stronger global demand and larger exportable supplies. Poultry products are increased over $250 million, on higher sales of both broiler meat and other poultry products. Pork exports are raised nearly $100 million as greater volumes more than offset a slight decline in unit values. Growing pork shipments to East Asia and South America are supported by a relatively weak dollar and competitive prices. Beef and pork variety meat shipments are higher by $100 million on robust prices.