This morning's USDA acreage report produced some good news for dairy producers, with estimated corn acreage up despite recent flooding in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.
The reason: Corn growers actually planted 1.31 million more total acres of corn after the March 31 planting intentions report: "…corn planted acreage [87.3 million acres] is the second highest since 1946, behind last year's total 93.6 million. Growers expect to harvest 78.9 million acres for grain, down 9% from 2007.”
Soybean acreage is up 17% from a year ago, at 74.5 million acres. USDA estimates acreage for harvest at 72.1 million acres, up 15% from last year.
It should be noted that, in light of the flooding, USDA re-interviewed 1,200 growers last week in the flood-affected areas. So the report, while not the final word, is a better reflection of what's to come this fall.
Also to be seen: What the Bush Administration and USDA do with Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres. Some have speculated that CRP acres will be released for emergency planting. The Environmental Protection Agency also is considering a Texas proposal to reduce by 50% the nine billion gallon Renewable Fuels Standard mandate for 2008. If left standing, that mandate could consume 16 to 17 million acres of corn with normal yields--and even more with sub-par yields.