Grain market futures jumped after USDA officials estimated 92 million acres of corn have been planted in 2020, which is sharply lower than the department’s 97-million-acre prediction in March.
In the June Acreage report released Tuesday, USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service estimated farmers planted 2.3 million more acres of corn this growing season compared to last year. But the corn acreage number is 5 million acres lower than the March Prospective Plantings projection.
Mike Pearson, vice president of market engagement at Zaner Ag Hedge, told Agri-Pulse traders were looking for corn to come in around 95.2 million acres but mentioned a special note at the top of the report citing acres “left to be planted.”
The note said 2.2 million acres of corn and 12.1 million acres of soybeans are “left to be planted” since the survey was conducted between May 30 and June 16. These numbers were included in USDA’s 2020 acreage estimates.
“There hasn’t been a marked improvement for a lot of growers,” Pearson said. “My theory is if you didn’t have that corn in the ground by June 16, I think it is pretty unlikely it is going to get in the ground.”
The department estimates 83.8 million acres of soybeans were planted this growing season which is up 10% from last year’s 76.1 million acres. The number is just 300,000 acres more than the March prediction of 83.5 million.
Pearson said the soybean numbers are not “terribly shocking” but are a big drop from the analyst guesses.
“They actually got out there, spoke with growers to compile this report, and there wasn’t as big of switch-over from corn acres into bean acres certainly as we had been thinking,” Pearson noted.
He said the average trade estimate was 84.7 million acres; Zaner analysts were anticipating 84.5 million acres of soybeans.
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According to the report, all wheat planted area for 2020 is estimated at 44.3 million acres. This number is down 2% from 2019 and represents the lowest all wheat planted area since records began in 1919.
Officials also released the Grain Stocks report, which are estimated as of June 1. Corn stocks in all positions totaled 5.22 billion bushels, slightly higher than figures observed last year.
Soybeans stored in all positions are 22% lower than June 2019, totaling 1.39 billion bushels. Old crop all wheat stocks totaled 1.04 billion bushels, which is down 3% from last year.
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