Which Crop Will Top the Acreage Battle?

March 27, 2013 09:30 PM
Which Crop Will Top the Acreage Battle?

A few wild cards may be at play today in USDA’s annual Prospective Plantings report.

For the past few years, corn has definitely been king in terms of acreage. High prices have kept it in the spotlight. But, 2013 could be different.

Ted Seifried, Zaner Ag Hedge Group vice president, says the mood has definitely shifted. "A few months ago it seemed that everyone everywhere was going to try to plant as much corn as their rotation would allow," he says. "Now that corn/soybean pricing has fallen more in line, the biggest determinant going forward may be weather."

In 2012, total corn planted area was estimated at 96.4 million acres, the highest planted acreage in the United States since 1937. Soybean planted area in 2012 was 76.1 million acres, the third highest on record.

Corey Cherr, agriculture research product manager at Thomson Reuters, an agricultural forecasting firm, says a big determinant for the corn-soybean acreage ratio is the amount of corn planted the previous year. Since so much corn was planted, he is expecting a shift to soybeans in some area. He says that even in heavy corn-on-corn rotations, a field will be rotated to soybeans every two to three years.

Kevin Van Trump, Farm Direction president, agrees that some traditional corn states will likely boost soybean plantings. "In Iowa and Illinois there is definitely more talk of producers going with a few more bean acres than in the past," he says. "The insurance guarantee is higher than last year and several producers swore after the past three years of falling corn yields and APH's that they were going to move a few of the corn-on-corn acres to a more traditional rotation."

As always, the weather during the next few months will be the real wildcard. "We’ve already had an obvious slowdown in corn planting pace compared to last year," Cherr says.

Seifried says extended forecasts hint that the recent cool and wet weather may stick around. "So, in northern areas and especially northwestern areas (Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota) there could be a shift toward soybeans if planting corn early is not an option," he says. "At least as this moment there is not as much incentive to try to push as many corn acres as possible as there was in the middle of winter."

Read Seifried's blog: The Ted Spread

Read Van Trump's blog: Current Marketing Thoughts


For More Information
AgWeb will continue its pre-report coverage of the March 28 Prospective Plantings report. Here are a few items to read now:

Prospective Plantings Preview: 10 Key States

Gulke’s Pre-Game Picks for the Planting Report



See current market prices in AgWeb's Market Center


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