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USDA: soybean, cotton acreage up, corn takes hit

Cotton acreage up 21 percent over 2016

Going in to the March 31 USDA planting intentions report, the operating theory among many ag-sector watchers was producers, facing a tepid corn price and already holding some two billion bushels of the commodity in bins, would opt for planting more soybeans. What does the report say?

Indeed, if the survey holds true, corn acreage will fall 4 percent (to 90 million acres) and soybeans will pick up 7 percent (a record-high 89.5 million acres). Wheat acreage is down 8 percent to 46 million.

The Mid-South breakdown shows:

  • Arkansas corn acreage dropping from 760,000 in 2016 to 600,000 in 2017.
  • Louisiana dropping from 620,000 acres to 500,000.
  • Mississippi dropping from 750,000 acres to 530,000.
  • Missouri dropping from 3.65 million acres to 3.25 million.
  • Tennessee dropping from 880,000 acres to 840,000.

The grain stock report, also released March 31, shows corn stocks up 10 percent (8.62 billion bushels) from a year ago, with soybean stocks up 13 percent (1.73 billion bushels). Wheat stocks are up 21 percent (1.66 billion bushels).

Rough rice stocks, says the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), are down 1 percent at 108 million hundredweight. According to the report, “Long grain varieties accounted for 67 percent of the total rough rice, medium grain accounted for 31 percent, and short grain varieties accounted for 2 percent.”

As for planting intentions, while Arkansas long-grain acres are expected to drop some 25 percent, medium grain acres are expected to rise from 135,000 acres to 145,000. Louisiana will see a dip in long-grain acres from 413,000 to 375,000 with Mississippi also dropping from 230,000 acres to 200,000. Missouri long-grain will also see a slight drop from 230,000 acres to 200,000.

The Mid-South breakdown for soybean acres:

  • Arkansas will boost acres from 3.13 million acres to 3.5 million.
  • Louisiana will go from 1.23 million to 1.9 million acres.
  • Mississippi will go from 2.04 million acres to 2.25 million.
  • Missouri will go up slightly from 5.6 million acres to 5.65 million.
  • Tennessee will see a rise from 1.66 million to 1.75 million acres.

Also, of keen interest to the South: the planting intentions reports says cotton acres will be up 21 percent at 12.2 million acres.  

In Arkansas, the uptick in cotton acres is pronounced -- from 380,000 acres to 500,000. Louisiana will see cotton acres go from 140,000 to 190,000. Mississippi will move from 435,000 acres to 550,000. Missouri producers will plant a bit more cotton, moving from 280,000 acres to 285,000. Tennessee will go from planting 255,000 acres to 300,000.

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