In its March Crop Acreage Report, USDA predicted that U.S. farmers would plant 92 million acres of corn and 77 million acres of soybeans. For all 21 monitored crops, USDA was looking for 323.8 million acres to be put in the ground this growing season.
That was before a long cool, wet spring reached across much of the U.S. corn and soybean growing sectors. It was also before tornados and floods hit some areas, while others dealt with severe drought.
For example, according weather analysts at Planalytics, about 1.1 million acres along the lower Mississippi hard by floods may dry out sufficiently to be replanted, but farmers there are reeling financially, and may not have the capital. Now, folks along the Missouri River are encountering flood waters.
Certainly some corn acreage will shift to soybeans, some acreage be cashed in under crop insurance and prevented plantings requirements, and some acreage will simply be lost for any number of reasons. How it will all break out is yet to be determined.
“It will be hard to plant more than 90 million corn acres,” says Joe Kerns, International Business Group, Ames, Iowa.
Farmers made good planting progress last week, as USDA’s June 6 crop report showed 94 percent of the corn was planted and 68 percent of the soybeans, compared to the five-year averages of 98 percent and 82 percent respectively.
Some early acreage projections are surfacing. The Linn Group, is estimating corn at 87.2 million acres and soybeans at 74.9 million acres. Doane Advisory Services is projecting 90.5 million corn acres and a 159 bushels-per-acre yield.
Of course, USDA’s June 30 Grain Stocks and Acreage reports will provide crop and acreage insight.
Crop emergence is slow. In its June 6 report, USDA reported corn emergence at 79 percent (five-year average is 90 percent) and 44 percent for soybeans (five-year average is 61 percent).
Late planted crops will deal with stressors involving weather and pollination timing, nutrient access, an early frost. Crop failure is unlikely, but yield declines can be expected.
Analysts at Allendale, an Illinois firm, are projecting corn production at 13.42 billion bushels, down 85 million from USDA’s estimate, with yields at 157.7 bushels per acre. They are leaving soybean acreage at USDA’s estimate of 43.4 bushels per acre for a crop of 3.385 billion bushels. Of course, there is a lot of growing season and weather developments yet to unfold.
As for old-crop supplies, even though USDA’s last carryover projection boosted corn supplies from 675 to 724, getting a hold of actual corn in July, August and September could be tough. Pork producers started getting advice in January to secure corn their feed grain needs ahead of new-crop harvest. That means having feed grain in the bin or a contract for delivery.
Now, there’s increasing discussions about some ethanol plants having to cutback or shut down during that late-summer period. This maybe particularly true for plants in the Eastern Corn Belt, as Indiana and Ohio have been the slowest to get corn in the ground this season. Ohio is just barely half-way done, according to USDA’s latest report. “The eastern Corn Belt could become a corn-deficit region before the end of the marketing year,” the Brock Report notes.
“September is going to be a difficult transition month,” Kerns notes. “We traditionally count on the eastern Corn Belt to relieve some supply issues—that opportunity will not be available to us this year.”