Farmers are taking some of the trade war risk off the table by planting fewer soybeans and more corn according to the 2019 acreage survey released by Allendale Marketing on Wednesday. Farmers included in the survey intend to plant 91.4 million acres of corn, 84.2 million acres of soybeans, and 47.4 million acres of winter wheat.
Corn planting intentions of 91.475 million acres would be 2.3 million over 2018, the survey report said. This is just 5.8 million off the 2012 peak reading of 97.291 million. Similarly, soybean planting intentions are seen at 84.263 million acres, 5.9 million off the peak three years ago.
The increase in corn acres is not a surprise to Allendale’s Rich Nelson.
“I think in general, the trade has been talking about this issue with lower soybean acres and, in general, some trade concerns, large supplies and some concerns about pricing in the past few weeks,” he told AgDay TV’s Betsy Jibben. “I think this reflects that."
While the increase in corn acres was expected by many analysts, Nelson was surprised by the 4.9 million acre decrease in soybeans. Where did those acres go? Well, some went to corn he says, but the remainder is likely to be planted in other crops like grain sorghum or cotton.
“Right now, our top three crops: corn, soybeans, wheat combined, come out to about 223.2 million acres, and that's actually a decline of almost 3 million acres,” he said. “USDA suggested about a 2 million acre drop at their Ag Forum numbers for the top three crops. Our survey here suggests almost a 3 million acre drop. It looks like a simple pushback in general, for all acres in regards with this low-price environment we have right now.”
Because farmers in the Corn Belt are unlikely to move outside of the top three crops much, the lost acres will be in North Dakota, Western South Dakota and the Western Plains, according to Nelson. While Iowa farmers don’t plant to change their rotations, he said farmers in Illinois and Indiana are backing away from soybeans a little more than expected.