Sep 1, 2014
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From the Editor

RSS By: Brian Grete, Pro Farmer

Pro Farmer Editor Brian Grete takes time to talk with Pro Farmer Members about some of the key issues in each week's Pro Farmer newsletter.

Combined Corn/Bean Planting Intentions Make Sense

Apr 04, 2014

Hello Pro Farmer Members!

Immediately after USDA released March 1 planting intentions, some analysts complained the corn and soybean planting estimates were "light" at a combined 173.184 million acres. While down 1.224 million acres from 2013 planting intentions, the numbers make sense to me. After all, corn and bean plantings fell within the ranges Pro Farmer has been using since last fall. The only real head-scratcher was sorghum acreage, which USDA estimated at 6.68 million acres, down 1.38 million from last year. Given ongoing drought in major sorghum production areas, an increase in milo plantings compared to March intentions seems likely.

Where did the "lost" corn and bean acres go? Producers plan to plant a combined 2.853 million acres more to cotton, peanuts, rice, canola, spring wheat, durum and dry beans. The "lost" corn/bean acreage combined with the 1.713 million acres of CRP ground that is eligible to be in production this year totals 2.937 million acres -- only 84,000 acres more than the combined acreage increase for those seven crops.

The biggest beef some analysts have with USDA’s combined corn and soybean acreage is in Iowa and Minnesota, which had a combined 1.63 million prevent-plant acres last year. In Iowa, producers intend to plant an additional 700,000 acres to corn and soybeans compared to year-ago, which accounts for nearly all of last year’s prevent-plant acres in the state. It’s hard to argue USDA’s March planting intentions are egregiously too low in that state.

In Minnesota, combined corn and soybean acres are expected to be up 700,000 from last year, roughly 200,000 acres less than the number of 2013 prevent-plant acres. When looking at all of Minnesota’s crops, the acreage decline from year-ago jumps to around 257,000 acres. So, USDA could be light on acreage there. But even if all of the missing 257,000 acres are seeded to something this year, it won't all be to corn or beans. But those two crops would likely catch the bulk of those acres.

North Dakota is another state that had major prevent-plant acres last year -- 2.812 million. Combined corn, soybean and spring wheat planting intentions are up 2.7 million acres there, so USDA’s numbers are believable in that state.

While I can't argue too much with USDA's March planting intentions, I realize they are indeed intentions, which makes them subject to change. My feeling at this time is that corn acres will be up from March intentions, while soybean acres may dip a bit from intended levels. Of course with that said, portions of the Midwest just experienced wintry/blizzard-like conditions and cold soil temps are a concern across the Corn Belt. That argues against more corn acres and fewer soybean acres, unless March intentions were skewed.

As for the weather, I know plenty of producers are more than a little concerned given an array of worries from conditions being too cold to too dry. It’s late enough to say we won’t get an early start to the growing season. It’s also too early for traders to push the panic button yet, especially after last year. But another couple weeks of current conditions may get their fingers closer to that button.

That's it for now...

... have a great weekend!

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