Gulke: Welcome To A Whole New Ballgame

March 29, 2018 04:26 PM

The grain markets screamed higher on March 29 after USDA released its annual Prospective Plantings report. This report typically holds a surprise or two and this year was no exception.

Here are the numbers:

  • Corn: 88.0 million acres in 2018, which is down 2% from 2017
  • Soybeans: 89.0 million acres, which is down 1% from 2017
  • Cotton: 13.5 million acres, which is up 7% from 2017.
  • All Wheat: 47.3 million acres, which is up 3% from 2017
  • Spring Wheat: 12.6 million acres, which is up 15% from 2017.

The corn acres weren’t a surprise, says Jerry Gulke, president of the Gulke Group.

“We were a little lower than that, I didn’t think they would come down that low,” he says. “The corn acres were just exactly what we needed—to have corn acres drop because we have too much. That took corn prices immediately higher.”

Soybeans held the surprise. Going into the Prospective Plantings report, the average trade guess for soybean aces was 91.1 million acres, with a range of 89.9 million to 92.6 million.

Gulke thought soybean acres would at least be 91 million, his estimate, based on client surveys, was closer to 92 million.

“But yet, we still had prices go up about 25 cents,” he says. “The good news is that we can plant just about anything we want and make money this year.”

The Prospective Plantings report provides the first official estimate of farmers’ acreage mix. It was based on surveys conducted during the first two weeks of March from a sample of 82,900 farm operators across the United States. On June 30 is when USDA will release the actual planted acres.

“In the meantime, this is a whole new ballgame,” he says. “We may have a pseudo acreage war to make sure we don’t lose more corn acres to soybean acres. This is one of the most exciting days we’ve had in a long time. It was a good day for agriculture.”

On Mondays, Gulke provides an in-depth market analysis with accompanying charts. Read his first installment of this new feature: The Rest of the Story: Global Demand or Lack Thereof

For next Monday’s edition, Gulke will discuss the long-term implications of the Prospective Plantings report. How bullish was this report for soybeans? What are the implications for corn? What could we as a potential carryover? He’ll also dive into the Grain Stocks report, looking at how much of last year’s crop is being stored on-farm versus off-farm.

To access Jerry’s comments, see

Contact Jerry directly at or 707-365-0601.

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Spell Check

norfolk , NE
3/30/2018 10:50 AM

  What are you smoking Jerry? We can plant just about anything and make money? One good day on the board didn't just magically make everything profitable. Unless maybe you have a nice fat income from bloviating about the markets to help pay the ever growing costs of living

Greensburg, IN
3/30/2018 06:11 PM

  It seems Jerry must only receive or view the acreage report? No mention of the stocks numbers for some odd reason? Corn stocks were well above average estimates by some 172 million bushels. Do they think those extra bushels are going to magically disappear on the next supply and demand report? Now granted the corn acres did confirm we could possibly see a reduction in U.S. carryout in 2019, but this year is only half over. Exports projections, and feed usage is still up for debate for the 2017 crop. The unknown is spec money. That maybe our supporting cast in all of this. But saying this is a new ball game is a little premature. Same can be said about the soybeans. Stocks were also higher than trade expected by some 65 million bushels. They too are not likely to disappear. Bean bull still has to be cautious, maybe a little less cautious but U..S. carryout is still burdensome for 2017/18 and a little less for 2018/19. Price and weather will determine further adjustments in acres moving forward. Making money ? That depends on many variables, none of which can be answered today. But price did move in the right direction for corn and bean farmers on Thursday.

bad axe, MI
3/29/2018 06:53 PM

  The US government had to sell 300 billion in bonds this week to keep things paid. It 54 billion to buy the corn crop in the US this year and 35 billion to buy the soybean crop in the US this year. We're big time in the hole. 300 billion divided by 89 billion is 3.3 years of corn and soybeans just to fund the government this week . Jerry nobody is making anything this year. Jerry where do you live, China is buying everything up , Tyson, Sygenta , most of the bonds that fund the FARM CREDIT SYSTEM in the US , China holds.


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