The June 30 USDA acreage and grain stocks report was much more anticipated than normal, given the very erratic nature of grain supplies and corn and soybean prices in the past year or two. Interestingly, the June 1 report showed total 2009 planted corn acres in the U.S. at 87 million acres, which is almost 3 million acres higher than the average estimates of the grain traders, and 2 million acres higher than the March 1 planting intentions. The 2009 planted corn acres are about 1 million acres more than 2008 planted corn acres. The USDA report listed 2009 planted soybean acres at 77.5 million acres, which is slightly below the prereport estimates by grain traders, but is up about 1.5 million acres from the March 1 planting intentions, and up about 1.8 million planted acres compared to 2008. Total 2009 wheat acres in the U.S. are down over 3.3 million acres as compared to 2008.
The interesting part of the June 30 report was the large increase in planted corn acreage for 2009, given the significant planting delays in much of the eastern Corn Belt – especially in Illinois and Indiana. It should be noted that the June 30 report is based on crop conditions on June 1, and the planted acreage does not reflect harvested corn acreage. Based on the June 30 report, it is estimated that 92% of corn acres will be harvested for grain in 2009, which is about normal. The balance of the corn acres will be harvested as corn silage, or will not be harvested for various reasons. Similarly, the harvested 2009 soybean acreage in the U.S. is listed at almost 99%, which again is about normal. The projected normal amount of harvested corn and soybean acres in 2009 would seem to indicate that USDA feels that most of the intended corn and soybean acres in the eastern Corn Belt will produce a crop in 2009, even though planting was delayed to much later than normal.
The June 30 USDA quarterly grain stocks report listed total corn stocks at 4.3 billion bushels, which was quite a bit higher than trade expectations, and compared to 4 billion bushels in June 2008. The U.S. soybean stocks in the June 30 report were listed at 597 million bushels, which is slightly lower than trade expectations, and is also lower than the 676 million bushels of soybean stocks in June 2008. The 2009 wheat stocks in the June 30 report were listed at 667 million bushels, compared to 306 million bushels in June 2008.
Corn and soybean market prices during June followed the trends identified in the June 30 report quite closely. Both nearby corn futures prices on the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and local cash corn prices dropped 80-85¢/bu. during the month of June. The CBOT futures price and forward contract prices for new-crop corn also declined by over 80¢/bu. from the beginning to the end of June. Interestingly, the CBOT nearby soybean futures and the cash soybean price at local markets actually increased slightly from the beginning of June until the end of June. However, the CBOT futures price, as well as forward contact prices, for new-crop 2009 soybeans dropped 60-65¢/bu. during June.