Farmers Share Their Planting Intentions

January 3, 2019 04:17 PM

By the time January rolls around, farmers have usually purchased 80% of their seed corn and soybeans for the upcoming season. We know this, based on the national seed and planting survey Farm Journal conducts with farmers annually.

2019 could be a bit different, with at least one adviser, Jim Mintert, encouraging farmers to keep some of their seed-purchase options flexible a while longer.

“There are some opportunities out there to lock-in some positive returns, and you might not want to let those opportunities get away from you,” he says, in a story reported by Tyne Morgan, Host of the U.S. Farm Report. “That’s going to play out over the next few months, and I think that maintaining some flexibility is going to be important.” (you can read the full story at

The uncertainty surrounding prices could spark some last-minute decisions by farmers to change crop rotations, which is why Mintert encourages the flexibility.

We wanted to get a sense of what you’re planning for this spring and asked, via a Pulse survey this week, what you expect to plant.

At this juncture, 56% of the 744 farmers who responded to our survey said they will plant in 2019 what they did in 2018.

Of farmers who said they plan to make a change, the most common response (20%) was that they will plant fewer soybean acres and more corn in 2019. This is the exact opposite of what farmers shared last year, when 20% of you said you would plant fewer corn acres and more soybeans.

The obvious explanations for the about-face have to do with our huge soybean carryover, ongoing trade tariffs with China that have not been fully resolved, and prices that were more down than up in the past year.

To improve profitability opportunities, 13% of you say you will expand beyond corn and soybeans and grow a different crop this season. In addition, 5% of you shared that you plan to add livestock or expand the amount of livestock to your farming operation. That mirrors what you shared with us last year.

To see a complete overview of farmer responses to the Farm Journal Pulse survey on planting intentions, you can check out the results in the chart and map below.

With Pulse, we survey farmers and ranchers for their opinions on a variety of topics at least twice each month. We then report the results online at AgWeb. Text the word PULSE to 31313* to participate in the dialogue. We hope you’ll join us.

Pulse Survey

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Spell Check

Mitchell, IA
1/7/2019 07:53 PM

  Agree with Steven, fall work never completed, very little N applied in the area and I dont think there is enough equipment around here to get it done in short order in the spring, let alone the price

Omaha, NE
1/7/2019 09:19 PM

  Don't all farmers lie about their planting intentions? All the guys I know do.

Northeast, IA
1/7/2019 08:22 AM

  For my area, I think this article is waaay off. Fertilizer is quite a bit higher this year. Land cost is not going down whatsoever. Corn, and beans are not reaching breakeven prices yet. There is a good percentage of stalks untouched. And farmers are just starting to go in to their lenders for their annual meeting. Many will be looking for alternative financing.