Higher Soy, Lower Corn Acres

USDA Offers First Forecast for Spring Planting

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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USDA predicts U.S. corn acreage will decline by 4 million acres from last year to 90 million acres this year. (DTN file photo by Pam Smith)

ARLINGTON, Va. (DTN) -- USDA projects soybean acres will grow to 88 million acres planted this spring, up 4.6 million acres from last year while corn planting will be 90 million acres, down 4 million from last year.

That was the first major forecast on crop acreage from the USDA Outlook Forum on Thursday by USDA Chief Economist Bob Johansson.

Corn acreage will decline by 4 million acres even though corn prices will increase slightly to an average of $3.50 per bushel, up about 3% from the 2016-17 marketing year.

Soybeans will see an average price of $9.60 per bushel for the 2017-18 marketing year, up roughly 1.1% from the current marketing year. Still, soybeans acres will gain on corn because the price ratio for soybeans is projected at 2.6 times compared to corn, which is the most favorable price spread between the two crops since 1997, Johansson said.

Wheat acres are projected to fall to 46 million acres, even though the average wheat price is projected at $4.30 per bushel, up 12% from the current marketing year.

Overall, total acres for eight major commodity crops are projected at 249.8 million acres, down 1.4% from the 2016-17 marketing year.

"Grain prices showed no obvious response to the release of USDA’s estimates for several good reasons," said DTN Analyst Todd Hultman. "The estimates were already in line with widespread expectations and carry little market weight this early in the new season when all important variables are still unknown."

Editor's Note: DTN will publish more information from the USDA Outlook Forum as it is released.

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

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Chris Clayton