As USDA prepares to release its June 30 acreage report, the market is starting to offer its best estimates for just how many acres of corn, soybeans, and wheat were planted in 2015.
Of those big three, soybeans may be the most complicated of all, thanks to uncooperative weather and challenging soybean prices.
“Where are the beans???” asked a farmer in Lincoln County, Mo., on AgWeb’s Crop Comments page. “Disaster from Kansas City east. Water standing in empty bean fields!”
Analysts are wondering the very same thing.
“The acreage question in soybeans is really tough to figure out,” said Joe Vaclavik of Standard Grain, on U.S. Farm Report Saturday. “When the USDA said 84.2 (million acres) in March, everyone thought it was too low. We reverted back to a number maybe towards 86, and now we’re second-guessing it, because of all these acres that haven’t been planted.”
Vaclavik is referring to the USDA’s controversial planting intentions report, which predicted farmers would plant 84.6 million acres of soybeans. But those forecasts—and their acreage numbers—have now been tempered. Informa now expects 86.8 million acres of beans, and Societe Generale is staying close to the USDA estimate of 84.6 million acres.
It makes Bob Utterback of Utterback Marketing Services very wary. “The bean acres (number) is the biggest confusion in the marketplace,” he said on U.S. Farm Report. “That’s where I think, as a seller, if you’ve sold to market, you’ve had to be very, very, very cautious. I wouldn’t want to be short cash or futures because of the uncertainty in the bean complex at this point.”
Listen to Vaclavik and Utterback discuss acreage and more on U.S. Farm Report:
The situation is corn is in flux as well, although not as unpredictable as in soybeans, where analyst opinions currently differ by several million acres.
In terms of corn, Informa last week said it expects to farmers to plant 88.8 million acres of corn, which is less than the USDA’s March intentions number (89.2 million acres) and Societe Generale’s prediction (88.9 million acres).
Utterback thinks those figures all sound a little high, given recent “weather stress” on corn. “I think everybody’s going to start fading to the low side,” he said. “That’s what has supported the market.”
Corn: 88.8 million acres (Informa) and 88.9 million acres (Societe Generale)
Soybeans: 86.8 million acres (Informa) and 84.6 million (Societe Generale)
Wheat: 56.2 million acres (Informa) and 55.3 million (Societe Generale)