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USDA: Farmers to Plant 4% Fewer Corn Acres, 6% More Soy

USDA: Farmers to Plant 4% Fewer Corn Acres, 6% More Soy

USDA's March 31 reports find corn stocks at 7 billion bushels, soybeans at 992.3 million

U.S. farmers are forecast to plant 4% fewer corn acres this spring and 6% more soybeans, numbers that lifted new-crop Chicago corn futures and pushed down new-crop soybeans on Monday.

USDA's prospective plantings report on Monday put planted corn acreage at nearly 91.7 million. That was less than trade forecasts, which Farm Futures estimated at 92.056 million and a Reuters survey put at 92.748 million.

USDA's March 31 reports find corn stocks at 7 billion bushels, soybeans at 992.3 million

"Today's reports are friendly for corn, which is why the market snapped back quickly from losses it suffered before the numbers came out," said Bryce Knorr, Farm Futures senior market analyst. "March 1 corn stocks just above 7 billion bushels suggest good feed usage over the winter, while 2014 planting intentions are more than 1 million acres less than the trade expected."

If realized, the 91.7 million corn acreage would be the lowest U.S. planted acreage since 2010, but would be the fifth largest since 1944.

USDA projected acreage changes in key states include: Iowa up 3%, Illinois down 1%, Indiana down 3 % and Nebraska down 6%

USDA's U.S. soybean acreage of 81.493 million, which would be a record, was bearish for new-crop Chicago futures with the November trading about 15 cents lower after the report. That area topped trade forecasts that averaged 81.075 million in the Reuters Survey. Farm Futures estimated at 82.935 million.

"The numbers for soybeans are a little negative. Acreages were not as big as we feared, but still are a record, and well above the trade's expectations. Stocks are a little more than anticipated, but not enough to make a huge difference," said Knorr.

A shift to soybeans from corn had been expected as prices favored the oilseed. Also, farmers have aggressively planted corn in recent years and the need for crop rotation should prompt more soybeans.

Soybean acreage increases were seen it Iowa 3%, Illinois 1%, Indiana 6%, Kansas 8%, Minnesota 10%, Nebraska 13% and North Dakota 22%.

All wheat acreage was 55.815 million, down 1% from 2013 with a 3% drop in winter wheat pulling down the total. Spring wheat and durum acreage were seen up 4% and 22%, respectively. Analysts, on average, expected 56.277 million wheat acres, according to Reuters, with Farm Futures at 56.053 million.

Grain stocks
USDA on Monday reported March 1 U.S. corn stocks at 7.0 billion bushels, which was a little less than the 7.1-billion trade forecast, and up 30% from a year earlier. Soybeans supplies were 992.3 million bushels, compared with the trade's 990 million average, but down from 2013's 998 million.

Wheat stocks were nearly 1.056 billion, compared with the trade average of 1.042 billion, and 2013's 1.235 billion.

"The wheat numbers suggest livestock feeding this year is less than anticipated, as more corn worked into rations," said Knorr. "These reports set the stage for spring weather, with cold, wet conditions right now the immediate focus of the market's concerns, especially after 2013's nightmare."

USDA: Farmers to Plant 4% Fewer Corn Acres, 6% More Soy

View the NASS Publications Website for full reports.

How will the March 31 USDA reports impact your bottom line? Farm Futures Senior Market Analyst Bryce Knorr and Farm Futures Senior Editor Bob Burgdorfer will discuss the reports and the spring weather outlook in a free webinar April 7 at 7 p.m. CDT. Learn more about the Farm Futures webinar.

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