U.S. farmers will plant more soybeans than corn this year – for the first time since 1983 – but acreage for both crops will be smaller than in 2017.
That’s a key takeaway from USDA’s Prospective Plantings report, released today, which was based on a survey of farmer intentions taken in early March. The National Agricultural Statistics Service will update the estimates in late June based on surveys when crop acreages have been established or planting intentions are firm.
The survey indicates that farmers will plant 88 million acres with corn, the most valuable U.S. crop, down 2.14 million acres, or 2 percent, from last year. If realized, this will be the lowest planted acreage since 2015. Compared with last year, planted acreage is expected to be down or unchanged in 33 of the 48 estimating states, NASS said.
Soybean planted area is estimated at 89 million acres, down 1 percent from last year. Compared with 2017, planted acreage intentions are down or unchanged in 20 of the 31 estimating states. Analysts have said farmers will plant more soybeans than corn this year because the oilseed promises bigger returns and involves lower input costs.
Dax Wedemeyer, an analyst with U.S. Commodities Inc., said the report was a "bit on the surprising side” as the cuts for both corn and soybeans were deeper than analysts were expecting.
“Now it’s up to spring weather to see whether those numbers come through or not,” he said.
All-wheat planted area for 2018 is estimated at 47.3 million acres, up 3 percent from 2017. This would be the second-lowest all-wheat planted area since records began in 1919. The 2018 winter wheat planted area, at 32.7 million acres, is up slightly from both last year and the previous estimate. Of this total, about 23.2 million acres are Hard Red Winter, 5.85 million acres are Soft Red Winter, and 3.64 million acres are White Winter. Area planted to other spring wheat for 2018 is estimated at 12.6 million acres, up 15 percent from 2017. Of this total, about 12.1 million acres are Hard Red Spring wheat. Durum planted area for 2018 is estimated at 2 million acres, down 13 percent from the previous year.
Sorghum farmers intend to sow 5.9 million acres, up 5 percent from 2017, according to the NASS report.
All cotton planted area for 2018 is estimated at 13.5 million acres, 7 percent above last year. Upland area is estimated at 13.2 million acres, up 7 percent from 2017. American Pima area is estimated at 262,000 acres, up 4 percent from 2017.
For corn, planted acreage is expected to be down or unchanged across most of the major producing states, with the exception of Ohio, which is expecting an increase. Record-high acreage is expected in Nevada and Oregon, while record-low acreage is expected in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. Compared with last year, planted acreage is expected to be down or unchanged in 33 of the 48 estimating states. Decreases of 300,000 acres or more are expected in Kansas, Minnesota and North Dakota.
For soybeans, planting intentions are down or unchanged in 20 of the 31 estimating states. Decreases of 100,000 acres or more are anticipated in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Ohio. If realized, the planted area in Indiana, Kentucky, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin will be the largest on record.
In a separate report, USDA said soybean supplies as of March 1 totaled 2.107 billion bushels, up 21 percent from a year earlier. Corn stocks stood at 8.89 billion bushels, up from 8.62 billion bushels. For both crops, supplies were at their highest level ever for March 1. All-wheat supplies on that date totaled 1.49 billion bushels, down 10 percent from the same date in 2017.
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