USDA: Corn to Be King Again in 2019

February 21, 2019 08:23 AM
For 2019, USDA predicts U.S. farmers will plant 92 million acres of corn, which is a 3.3% jump from last year. Alternatively, farmers will plant 85 million acres of soybeans, which is down 4.7% from last year.

For 2019, USDA predicts U.S. farmers will plant 92 million acres of corn, which is a 3.3% jump from last year. Alternatively, farmers will plant 85 million acres of soybeans, which is down 4.7% from last year, as shared this morning by USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson.

With the large overhang in soybean stocks, soybean area needs to adjust to work down record large soybean carry-in stocks. As a result, soybean area is expected to fall 4.2 million acres, to 85 million acres in 2019," says Johansson, who spoke at USDA’s 2019 Agricultural Outlook Forum in Arlington, Va.

Corn is expected to be the primary beneficiary of the decline in soybean acres. At 92 million, corn acres are the largest since the 2016 planting season, “when the price ratio was more favorable to corn,” he says.

To round out the top crops, USDA forecasts 47 million acres of wheat, 14.3 million acres of cotton and 2.7 million acres of rice to be planted this year. Cotton acres are at a five-year high, while wheat acres are at a five-year low, according to USDA.


USDA - 2019 Acreage

As for prices, USDA forecasts a slight improvement in 2019 for all major crops except cotton. This year’s season-average price for corn is forecast at $3.65, up 1.4% from 2018. The season-average price for soybeans in 2018 is forecast at $8.80, a 2.3% increase from 2018. What prices are forecast at $5.20, up 1% from last year.

USDA - 2019 price forecast

Under the expectation of continued Chinese tariffs, soybean prices are expected to rise modestly, up $0.20 to $8.80 per bushel as the market begins the multi-year process of working down large stocks, but this follows the prior year’s decline of $0.73 per bushel,” Johansson says.

Corn prices are expected to increase for the second year. “Carry out stocks are expected to continue their multi-year tightening,” he says.

In 2017, U.S. corn growers planted 81.7 million acres of corn and produced 14.4 billion bushels. The average national yield was 176.4 bu. per acre, which was 0.2 bushel below the 2017 record yield of 176.6 bu. per acre.

For soybeans, 2018 acres were 88.1 million and production was 4.54 billion bushels, up 3% from 2017. The average national soybean yield was 51.6 bu. per acre, up 2.3 bu. from 2017, but 0.3 bu. below 2016’s record yield.

Ahead of the USDA Forum, according to Allendale, the average trade estimates for corn plantings was 91.512 million acres with a national corn yield of 177.1 bu. per acre. The soybean acreage estimate was 86.144 million, with a national soybean yield of 50.9 bu. per acre. Wheat acres were estimated at 47.196 million acres, with a national wheat yield of 47.7 bu. per acre.

Johansson notes several uncertainties this year that have a direct impact on the outlook for crops, livestock and dairy this year.

“Questions about policy, trade, weather, and market information all are having an impact making the outlook less certain than perhaps any time since the first year of Freedom to Farm in 1996,” he says.

View Johansson's slides and read a transcript of his presentation

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Spell Check

Jonesboro , AR
2/22/2019 07:26 AM

  Hey April, you need to come down to my house. I'm looking at my back yard and there are at least 100 birds out there! I live smack dab in the middle of thousands of GMO production acres. Organic farming to feed the world lol! Moron.

Scottsbluff, NE
2/21/2019 02:47 PM

  So 3.65 corn huh? Take 40 cents plus off the basis and we at 3.25. That cash flows like a fart in the skillet with inputs pushing upward. I don’t see how any of this is survivable much longer it about time some land gets idled or something that will bring this production number down. We don’t have a export problem we have a problem called we are growing way to damn much corn for what their is demand for and until we can balance that out it’s going to be making pennies or losing them. Here in Nebraska with the taxes the way they are we are going to have another nail in the coffin for a lot of growers I’m afraid

Dayton, OH
2/22/2019 04:19 AM

  If farmers continue growing GMO crops by conventional, synthetic chemical agriculture, the human race will become extinct in the not too distant future. Insect populations are plummeting, and with them the pollinators and birds. One out of two of us will have cancer. The drenching of our environment with these carcinogens, neurotoxins, mutagens has to stop! There is so much help out there to transition from chemical Ag to organic farming. Take the leap, for your children and grandchildren.


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