With rain stalling or preventing planting this spring, analysts expect USDA to lower its planted acreage forecast.
Analysts expect projected planted acreage for corn and wheat to decline as producers shifted rain-drenched acres into last-minute soybeans or didn’t get anything planted at all when USDA releases its much-awaited Acreage report Friday, June 28. USDA’s planted acreage estimate is based on a survey of producers taken during the first two weeks of June.
Too Wet for Corn
USDA could reduce corn acreage by 2 million acres, according to forecasting firm Informa. Informa’s estimates are based on a survey adjusted for weather. The Swiss-based forecaster now puts planted corn acreage at 95.3 million acres, compared with USDA’s latest estimate of 97.3 million.
McHenry, Illinois-based Allendale expects USDA to decrease corn acreage by nearly 3 million acres to 94.364 million. If realized, Allendale’s estimate would still reflect the second largest corn acreage in the past 50 years.
Forecasts by the Linn Group in Chicago are in between at 95.2 million acres. "All the rain in May did not allow farmers to get into the fields, so some acres shifted to soybeans and others didn’t get planted," says Jerrod Kitt, director of research for the Linn Group.
The Linn Group expects USDA’s quarterly Grains Stocks report, also released June 28, to show corn stocks of 2.771 billion bushels. "It’s tight, tight, tight for soybeans and corn," Kitt says. "We have to ration to single bushels at this point."
Kitt notes that last year’s corn and soybean harvest was early, which is not going to happen this year based on this season’s late planting. Thus, new-crop supplies will not be available like they were in August of last year, making rationing all the more crucial.
Shift to Beans
Soybean acreage is likely to increase. Informa now estimates planted soybean acreage at 77.8 million acres, up 700,000 acres from UDA’s latest estimate of 77.1 million acres.
Allendale expects a much larger increase in soybean acreage of 2.114 million acres to 79.24 million. "Late corn and spring wheat planting, and a change in corn/soybean profitability is responsible," Allendale says. "This is a record soybean planting."
The Linn Group’s estimate for soybean acres comes in below both Informa’s and Allendale’s at 77.4 million acres. The Linn Group’s estimate for quarterly grain stocks for soybeans of 453 million bushels means exports might have been too aggressive this year. "We will have to throttle back the crush," Kitt says.
Spring Wheat Suffers
Randy Martinson, executive vice president of Progressive Ag in Fargo, N.D., expects USDA to lower acreage on spring wheat by 750,000 acres and on durum wheat by 500,000 due mainly to reductions in North Dakota.
Durum wheat acres will also likely decline. "Only 40 percent of the durum wheat acres in North Dakota are in," says Martinson. "The reduction in spring wheat acres will help tighten supply of the U.S. wheat crop."
Informa anticipates an even larger decline in spring wheat acreage to 11.8 million acres, a 900,000-acre reduction from USDA’s latest projection of 12.7 million acres.
Allendale is a bit more bullish on spring wheat putting projected acreage at just above 12 million acres.
Cotton Acres Increase
Cotton acres could also increase, based on Informa’s recent survey that put cotton acres at 10.4 million, up 400,000 from USDA’s 10 million acre projection. The Linn Group is even more optimistic, putting cotton acres at 10.7 million.
A share of the cotton acres in the drought-stricken southern plains, however, will likely be abandoned.