USDA gazed into its crystal ball in late February and released its first round of production estimates for 2018.
“For corn and soybeans, current price expectations and rotational constraints again push the combined area to 180 million acres, evenly split between the two crops,” says Robert Johansson, USDA chief economist.
“We expect the continued expansion of trade in soybeans will continue to put pressure on corn but more likely other crops in the future,” says Johansson, who presented at USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum.
In terms of U.S. soybean exports, China imports 65%, the European Union buys 9%, Mexico buys 3% and Japan buys 2%. The rest of the world imports the remaining 21% of U.S. soybean production.
This year’s season-average price for corn is forecast at $3.40, up 3% from 2017. The season-average price for soybeans in 2018 is forecast at $9.25, a 0.5% drop from 2017.
Wheat acres are expected to reverse a four-year trend and expand in 2018. Although winter wheat was planted on 88,000 fewer acres, current price strength in spring wheat suggests we could pick up acres in the Northern Plains, Johansson says.