With more acres needed for corn, wheat and cotton, soybeans may go to marginal acres.
The pending acreage battle is seeing corn, cotton and wheat prices wage a significant fight. Soybeans may be a different matter, says Bob Young, the chief economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation.
“We could still give up a million acres or two out of beans. Wheat, you only need another 500,000 to 700,000 acres to keep things in balance there. Cotton probably wants another million acres or so.
“Not quite sure they’re going to be able to get more than that because we’ve been getting lots of reports that people have sold their equipment and it’s too expensive to get back into it.”
Last year, about 280 million acres of crops were planted in the U.S. To put supply and demand back in balance, Young believes only three million additional acres will be needed.
With 4.4 million acres expected to come out of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), he expects only about 1.5 million of that will actually come back into production next year. If that’s the case, soybeans will likely pick up those acres, leaving more room for corn, cotton and wheat on established acreage.
This could create some agronomic challenges for growers, says Kurt Seevers with Becker Underwood, a company that manufactures and sells soybean inoculants. .
“One of the things we’ll see happen as we bring marginal ground, CRP especially, back into production, a lot of times the recommendation is to go with soybeans to start with because you don’t see a lot of fertilizer costs to start with.”
Seevers says inoculants can be very important for soybean development on these acres. “Producers need to be able to take advantage of that free nitrogen the rhyzobia can produce for the soybean plant.”