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Drop in corn acreage projected

11:03AM Aug 08, 2008
Farm Journal Media Survey Shows Significant Drop in Corn Production
Cedar Falls, IA  (Aug. 8, 2008)  A survey of Farm Journal Media subscribers confirms both corn and soybean acreage were significantly impacted by weather this year. According to the survey, 80.2 million acres of corn and 65.5 million acres of soybeans are growing in the U.S.
This will put total corn production at 11.1 billion bushels, if USDA's July estimate of 148.4 bu./acre national yield is realized from an expected harvested acreage of 74.6 million acres. With an expected harvested acreage for soybeans at 64.5 million acres (1.5% acreage loss), total soybean production would be 2.7 billion bushels. Both production numbers should be supportive for prices, says Chip Flory, editor of Pro Farmer, a weekly newsletter of Farm
Journal Media.
"We could be looking at shortages of corn this year," Flory explains. "Corn usage is pegged at 12.54 billion bushels, and carryover is expected at 833 million bushels. If we realize 11.1 billion bushels, something will have to give. This will set the market up for significant price rationing."
While higher than last year's production, 2008 soybean production is also expected to lag behind normal production, adding support to a market already experiencing strong prices, Flory adds.
Both acreage numbers are significantly below what farmers originally expected to plant in 2008. A multitude of factors are behind the drop. Farmers across the country experienced significant planting delays, record rainfall in the Midwest swallowed ground, and drought in the South and West sapped acres.
More than 34% of respondents reported planting delays of at least two weeks or more, says Greg Vincent, editor of Top Producer. "There was a significant battle for acres this year, and it looks like corn won the battle with producers. Our survey shows farmers had planned for 92.2 million acres of corn, despite what was reported in March. Weather just forced farmers to change their plans, and they switched away from corn out of necessity."
Not only did weather delay planting for more than a third of respondents but 20% also were forced to replant at least some acres.
USDA's June acreage report pegged corn acres at slightly more than 87 million acres, but the June report supports the original intent of 92 million acres.
The Farm Journal Media survey was distributed to a random sample of corn and soybean producers throughout the U.S. The survey, conducted from July 2 to 10, 2008, has a 2.6% margin of error.
Official 2008 production estimates from Pro Farmer will be released Aug. 22 at 8:30 a.m. CDT following the annual Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. The tour is scheduled for Aug. 17 to 21, 2008, and can be followed throughout the week at
Farm Journal Media
2008 Acreage and Production Estimates
(Million Acres)
2007 Acreage1    2008 Intended          2008 Actual             2008 Estimated       2008 Estimated
                          Acreage2                 Acreage3                 Harvested Acres4     Production5
93.6                    92.2                        80.2                        74.6                     11.1 billion bu.
2007 Acreage1    2008 Intended          2008 Actual             2008 Estimated       2008 Estimated
                          Acreage2                 Acreage3                 Harvested Acres4     Production5
63.6                     69.0                        65.5                        64.5                      2.7 billion bu.
1 USDA January 2008 final acreage.
2 Based on Farm Journal Media Survey, July 2–10, 2008.
3 Actual acreage in production based on Farm Journal Media Survey, July 2–10, 2008.
4 Typical harvested acreage decrease: 7.5% corn and 1.5% soybeans.
5 Based on USDA yield predictions of 148.4 bu./acre (corn) and 41.6 bu./acre (soybeans).
About Farm Journal Media
Farm Journal Media is the nation's leading agricultural media company. Its magazines are the 131-year-old flagship Farm Journal, as well as Top Producer, Beef Today, Dairy Today, and Beef Business Journal. Farm Journal Electronic Media includes AgDay and U.S. Farm Report television programs, and, the hub of online agricultural information. Farm Journal Media also publishes the Pro Farmer family of newsletters, produces numerous live events, offers custom publishing services and provides extensive database services.
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