From 2015 to 2016, no major acreage shifts shook the so-called Great Lakes states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. Will that consistency hold another year?
That’s more than likely, according to Greg Roth, professor of agronomy at Penn State University.
“I think farmers are going to stick to historic trends pretty much – perhaps plant a few more soybeans,” he says. “Our high corn basis, feed needs for livestock and straw harvest on wheat tend to keep these in rotation even when others are pulling back.”
That said, farmers in Pennsylvania may engage in a “modest pull back” in corn acres, Roth adds.
“That’s due to it not cash flowing on some of the poorer soils that it had been grown on during the higher-price years,” he says.
Laura Lindsey, Extension specialist with The Ohio State University, says Ohio farmers also might reduce corn acres, and they might drop some wheat acres as well.
“As I talked with farmers this winter, many were thinking about planting soybean after soybean because soybean is turning out to be a more profitable crop than corn in Ohio.”
Those soybean acres will need to be watched carefully this season, Lindsey adds. That’s because mild winters can set the stage for certain diseases, such as frogeye leaf spot. By some estimates, severe frogeye leaf spot on susceptible varieties can slash yields by as much as 30%.
Roth points out another reason why there could be an extra interest in growing soybeans in 2017 – a new soybean processing plant is opening in Lancaster County, giving nearby farmers a possible chance to contract for Plenish soybeans. That plant is expected to open by September.
2017 Spring Planting Preview: Great Lakes
States: Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania
Top Contender: Soybeans
Factors to Watch: Soybean-on-soybean acres, weather wildcards, farm credit challenges.