Last week, USDA’s provided its first take on the 2019 acreage mix. For this year, USDA predicts U.S. farmers will plant 92 million acres of corn and 85 million acres of soybeans.
With the large overhang in soybean stocks, soybean area needs to adjust to work down record large soybean carry-in stocks, according to USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson, who presented the acreage estimates at USDA’s 2019 Agricultural Outlook Forum.
But, will farmers really swing that heavy to corn this year? It depends on Mother Nature, says Matt Bennett, market analyst with AgMarket.net and Bennett Consulting,
“In my opinion, 92 million for corn is a best-case scenario, if the weather would actually cooperate,” says Bennett, also an Illinois farmer.
(Click the image below to watch a video with Bennett)
Corn acres have room to shrink down from USDA’s initial forecast, agrees Dan Basse, president of AgResource Company.
“We've been moving soybean acres up and corn acres down,” Basse says. “Now we're at about 91.5 million acres for corn and 85.5 million for soybean acres. Mother Nature will then determine where in the mix we go from here.”
For many Midwestern farmers, last fall wasn’t conducive for a lot of fall tillage or fertilizer applications.
“It’s no secret we have a major bottleneck coming up when it comes to anhydrous this spring,” Bennett says. “A lot of things will have to fall into place pretty quickly. Not to mention, December corn hasn’t exactly wowed us the last few days.”
Fertilizer prices and availability could drive crop choices, especially for swing acres, Bennett says. “The swing acres are probably bigger than we’ve seen for a long time.”
For now, Bennett expects 91 million acres or below of corn and 86.5 million acres of soybeans—if farmers see a perfect spring.
“This doesn’t look like an early spring to me,” he says. “If any year we need an early spring, it’s this one.”
Bennett and Basse both presented this week at the Commodity Classic, which is taking place in Orlando. Read more of our Commodity Classic coverage:
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