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June 15, 2011

WASDE Corn Acreage "Down Payment" on June Planted Report

Corn - In the June WASDE Report the 2011 U.S. corn planted area was reduced 1.5 million acres to 90.7 million and the corn harvested area was reduced 1.9 million acres to 83.2 million. My corn planted area (90.0 million acres) and corn harvested area (82.5) are both 700,000 acres lower than the WASDE numbers. I view the WASDE numbers as sort of a "down payment" on the acreage numbers that will be released on June 30 in the 2011 Planted Report.

The reasons why I think the corn acreage may go lower than the WASDE numbers are because some of the problems with the corn crop are ongoing such as: delayed planting in the eastern and northwestern Corn Belt and flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Unfortunately, some of these issues may not be resolved even for the June Planted Report as well. There will probably not be an accurate corn harvested number until the August Crop Report is released.

While the WASDE Report was aggressive in lowering the corn planted and harvested area, they left the nationwide corn yield unchanged at 158.7 bu/ac, which I think is a little too high. The amount of corn planted outside the normal planting window probably ended up higher than was assumed when they compiled the May WASDE Report, so just that alone could result in a lower corn yield. Additionally, in the more saturated regions, the corn plant populations will probably be lower than what was assumed in the May report as well.

The weather over the next three months will determine the final corn yield of course, but for the time being, I am going to stay with a nationwide corn yield of 157.0 bu/ac.

Soybeans - For the 2011 U.S. soybean crop, the WASDE Report indicated no changes in either the planted (76.6 million acres) or the harvested area (75.7 million acres). The soybean yield was also left unchanged at 43.4 bu/ac.

My planted area is the same as the WASDE number, but I am 500,000 acres lower on the harvest area at 75.2 million acres. The soybean acreage is still very much in question, but the reason why I am lower is due mainly to the delayed planting and the flooding along the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers. Recently, there has also been some additional ponding occurring from eastern Iowa across Illinois to Indiana, but I am going to assume at this point there will be enough time to replant those areas once it dries out. If additional rainfall occurs in the region, some of the drowned out corn may eventually be switched to soybeans.

The soybean yield will be determined later in July and August, but a lot of the crop is going to be planted much later than desired and it will be a challenge for the crop to achieve the 43.4 bushels per acre estimated in the WASDE Report. As a result, the soybean yield is estimated at 42.5 bushels per acre, which is lower than the WASDE estimate of 43.4 bushels per acre.