April 4, 2017
Reaction to USDA 2017 Prospective Plantings Report
Corn - Last Friday, the USDA released their Prospective Plantings Report indicating that U.S. farmers will plant 90.0 million acres of corn in 2017 and 89.5 million acres of soybeans. The corn acreage is down 4.0 million acres from 2016 or 4%. Almost every major corn producing state indicated lower acreage with a few exceptions such as Indian and Ohio which were unchanged and Kansas that was actually up slightly. Some of the biggest declines in acreage were in Iowa (-600,000 acres), Minnesota (-450,000 acres), and Texas (-450,000 acres). There were no major surprises with the corn acreage, certainly not like last year when it came in much larger than expected.
Soybeans - The 2017 U.S. soybean acreage is expected to be 89.5 million acres or up 6.0 million acres from 2016 or 7%. It was a clean sweep for soybeans with every major soybean producing state indicating an increase in soybean acreage. Some of the biggest increases in acreage were in Kansas (+950,000 acres), North Dakota (+850,000 acres), and Minnesota (+700,000 acres).
I would not be surprised if we end up with either an equal amount of corn and soybean acreage or maybe even more acres of soybeans than corn in 2017. I think the soybean acreage could move a little higher before the planting is completed especially if there is any delay in planting the spring wheat or corn in North Dakota, South Dakota or in northwestern Minnesota.
In the northwestern Corn Belt, soybeans are traditionally the default crop since they are planted last, but this year they may be the preferred crop instead. Spring wheat is usually planted in early April or when conditions permit. Early corn planting in the northwestern Corn Belt usually starts about April 10 to April 15 and the soybean planting usually starts about April 25 to May 1, so we should know in a couple of weeks how the corn planting will go in the northwestern Corn Belt. North Dakota for example, will plant 6,900,000 acres of soybeans and 3,300,000 million acres of corn.
The weather over the next two months will be the final determining factor of the 2017 U.S. crop acreage especially the weather in the northwestern Corn Belt. Even in the heart of the Corn Belt, it would be beneficial if the weather pattern would now turn dryer.