Corn acres hold their ground and secondary crops tick up
Stronger potential for financial returns has pushed soybeans to the top of the crop option list for 2015. But corn has hardly been pushed to the back burner, according to USDA’s March 31 Prospective Plantings report.
Soybean acres are predicted to reach a record high—84.6 million. Yet, corn acres are forecast at 89.2 million, down 2% from this past year. If realized, 2015 would mark the third consecutive year of an acreage decline.
Wheat acres are forecast to be 3% lower than 2014, coming in at 55.4 million for all varieties. Cotton acres took the biggest hit for 2015. All cotton acres are forecast at 9.55 million, down 13% from this past year.
“Lower prices and projected negative returns are the biggest reason for shifts in acreage,” explains Brian Grete, Pro Farmer editor. “We suspected other crops to pick up acres this year at the expense of some of the major crops.”
As of early March, farmers showed they will increase plantings of sunflowers, barley and sorghum, all to the tune of 10% or more compared with 2014 acres. “Whether this turns into a resurgence in secondary crops will depend primarily on the price of corn and soybeans,” Grete says. “If corn and bean prices rebound and project better returns, the pickup in secondary crop acres will be short-lived.”