Summary of USDA’s plantings and stocks reports
Soybean planting intentions were put at 77.126 million acres in the March Prospective Plantings report. This is just slightly below the 2012 acreage of 77.198 million acres. Compared to a year ago, soybean acreage is higher in most of the states in the Delta and Southeast regions. Acreage is also up in Illinois (up 350,000 acres), Iowa (up 50,000 acres) North Dakota (up 150,000 acres) and Ohio (up 50,000 acres). The big declines are in Nebraska (down 350,000 acres), Minnesota (down 250,000 acres), South Dakota (down 150,000 acres), Kansas (down 100,000 acres) and Missouri (down 100,000 acres).
While soybean acreage for 2013 is very close to the 2012 level, it fell far short of the level analysts had expected. The pre-report survey put the range of estimates from a low of 77.5 million acres to a high of 80.0 million. The average of the 21 analysts surveyed was 78.49 million acres, about 1.35 million acres above intentions. With “normal” yields that difference comes to about 50 to 60 million bushels.
While the soybean planting intentions were generally positive for new crop prices, the soybean stocks level reported on Thursday were negative. Soybean stocks at the beginning of March totaled 999 million bushels, according to the quarterly Grain Stocks report more than 50 million bushels above the average of the analysts’ pre-report predictions. With crop year ending stocks expected to be only 125 million bushels, a difference of 50 million bushels at this point in the season is pretty significant. Soybean prices fell significantly on Thursday in response to the report.
Farmers say they will boost spring wheat acreage for 2013 by about 400,000 acres to 12.7 million. This is an increase of a little more than 3 percent from 2012 levels. Spring wheat acreage in North Dakota will be up by 450,000 acres from a year ago, while corn and soybean acres also increase. The land available in North Dakota this year is higher this year, with about 580,000 acres coming out of CRP last September. However, spring wheat acreage is expected to be down slightly in Montana where another 400,000 acres exited the CRP last year. The spring wheat acreage in the Prospective Plantings report was about 200,000 acres higher than the average of the pre-release estimates. USDA’s long-term forecast in February had implied a decline in spring wheat acreage.
Winter wheat acreage was revised up in the Prospective Plantings report. In January, USDA put winter wheat acreage for 2013 at 41.82 million acres. The new data shows winter wheat acreage at 41.99 million acres. Acreage in 2012 came in at 41.32 million acres. While winter wheat acreage is up in total, acreage in the Plains states is generally down. Kansas acreage is down 200,000 acres, and Colorado acreage is 150,000 lower. Acreages in Texas and Oklahoma are steady with the 2012 level. With the drought persisting in the Plains states, winter wheat production may well be down this year, even with the increase in planted acreage.