Producers and grain marketers alike are anxiously awaiting USDA’s Planting Intentions report on March 31. Will soybeans reach the rumored 90-million-acre mark? Maybe. 

“I think it’s a long shot,” says Chip Flory, host of “Market Rally Radio,” part of the Farm Journal Media family. “We’re working closer to that 87 million to 87.5 million range.” 

To get to 90 million acres of soybeans, farmers would have to grow the grain on pretty marginal acres, Flory says. It isn’t out of the question.

“Look at all of the hard red winter wheat acres we lost. Those guys grew soybeans in 2016 like they never thought they could, and now they think: ‘Hey, we’ve got the program in place. We’re going to do it again,’” he says. At the same time, “2016 might have been a once-in-a-lifetime chance for Kansas farmers to see Iowa-like soybean yields.”

The 90-million-acre figure is a doable one because of the profitability of soybeans, acknowledges Mark Gold of Top Third Ag Marketing. 

“I think we’re going to see a lot of corn acres that don’t necessarily want to go [into soybeans], but banks may make them,” Gold says. “Bankers we work with are telling their farmers that they have to take a hard look at why they’re growing corn this year.”