Report Shows Lowest Prospective Corn Planting Planned Since 2008

Jon Howard
April 4, 2017

Farmers indicated to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that they will plant more soybeans and less corn and wheat this year.

The report showed farmers this year planning to split corn and soybean plantings about evenly, with 90 million acres of corn and 89.5 million acres of soybeans.

Nationwide, corn planted area for all purposes in 2017 is estimated at 90 million acres, down 4 percent or 4 million acres from a year ago.

Dry edible peas planting are estimated at 500 thousand acres, down 11 percent from last year and lentils are expected to be planted on 300 thousand acres, down 2 percent from last year.

Some of the acres shifting from sunflowers in North Dakota obviously will go to soybeans but some also might be going to canola: the state's farmers say they will up planted acres by 3 percent to 1.5 million acres, a record.

Iowa's 2017 planted soybean acreage was estimated at 10.1 million acres, up 600,000 acres from 2016; Iowa is the U.S.'s 2 largest state soybean producer, trailing only IL.

The largest increase is expected in Kansas with 5 million acres, an increase of 950,000 acres from 2016. "You can reach back about five years ago and see a $7 corn price, and a $16 bean price and they were both profitable", said John Motter, a Hancock County farmer and chairman of the United Soybean Board.

Minnesota farmers intend to plant 430,000 acres of sugarbeets this year, down 7,000 acres from 2016. Non-oil varieties made up the balance of 15,000 acres, up 20 percent from the previous year.

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Acres devoted to hay harvest is expected to total 2.50 million acres, unchanged from last year's acreage.

Winter wheat planted area, at 32.7 million, is down 9 percent from previous year.

Wheat has also given up nearly 7 percent in the last four weeks, although prices are up 3.4 percent for the quarter, the biggest three-month gain since June 2015. They apparently will find numerous acres from ex-wheat fields as they plan to plant only 46.1 million acres to all kinds of wheat, the lowest acreages since records began in 1919 and down 8 percent from the 2016 crop.

Off-farm stocks, at 1.07 billion bushels, are up 33 percent from last March.

The USDA said Soybean in storage totaled almost 1.74 bu, on 1 March, + 13% from a year ago.

May corn futures moved up sharply on 3/31, resulting in an 8-cents per bushel higher weekly close, finishing on Friday (3/31) at $3.64 ΒΌ.

In last Friday's session, traders estimated that net fund buying of corn ranged widely from 12,000 to 45,000 contracts, and in wheat from 6,000 to 10,000 contracts.

Durum wheat stored totaled 52.8 million bushels, up 24 percent from March 1, 2016.

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