U.S. farmers are forecast to plant about 2 million more acres of corn in 2016 to 90 million, while soybean acres may be slightly lower at 82.5 million, USDA economist Robert Johansson said during the opening session of annual USDA Agriculture Outlook Forum on Thursday.
Total wheat acres are forecast at 51 million, down 3.6 million from 2015, with declines in both winter and spring wheat as low prices pressure production.
The increase in corn acres was forecast because lower fuel and fertilizer prices make it a more attractive option to other crops.
Ample supplies of all crops should keep pressure on prices.
“Further (crop) price reductions are expected for the 2016/2017 marketing year,” he said.
The average corn price was put at $3.45 from 2015’s $3.60, soybeans to $8.50 from $8.80 and wheat at $4.20 from $5.00.
“Lower commodity prices are expected to idle some land, which had been brought into production as commodity prices rose through 2012,” he said.