USDA pegs corn acres at 97.3 ma, soy at 77.1 ma

Mar 29, 2013
by DTN

USDA estimates this year’s soybean acreage at 77.13 million acres (ma), lower than the range of trade expectations and a slight decrease from last year.

Corn acreage, on the other hand, matched the average trade guess at 97.28 ma, according to USDA’s Prospective Plantings report released at 11 a.m. CDT on Thursday, March 28.

USDA’s estimate of corn stocks as of March 1 came in at 5.4 billion bushels (bb), above the highest trade estimate, and down 10 percent from March 2012.

Soybean stocks totaled 999 million bushels (mb), within the range of trade estimates but slightly on the high side. It’s a 27 percent decrease from last March.

All wheat acres were estimated at 56.44 ma. USDA expects farmers to plant spring wheat on 12.7 ma acres, in line with trade estimates. Wheat stocks came in at the high end of pre-report estimates at 1.234 bb.


According to USDA, farmers intend to plant slightly more acres to corn than last year, making acreage the largest since 1936 when an estimated 102 ma were planted to corn.

Some of the largest increases, percentage wise, come from increased planting in Arkansas, Mississippi and other Delta states as farmers switch from cotton to corn. USDA expects farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, South Dakota and Nebraska to plant slightly less corn than last year.

In USDA’s Quarterly Grain Stocks report, it pegged corn stocks at 5.4 bb, with 2.67 bb of on-farm stocks and 2.73 bb of off-farm stocks. That’s a decrease of 14 percent and 4 percent, respectively. December to February disappearance was 2.63 bb compared to 3.62 bb during the same period last year.


USDA expects farmers in the Great Plains, with the exception of North Dakota, to plant fewer soybean acres this year. Nebraska and Minnesota lead the decline while Illinois and North Dakota show the largest increases.

On the grain stocks side, soybeans supplies fell just shy of 1 bb with 457 mb stored on farms while off-farm stocks are estimated at 543 mb, down 18 percent and 34 percent from last March.

Disappearance during the December to February quarter totaled 967 mb, down 3 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Wheat and other crops

All wheat acres came in right at the average trade guess at 56.4 ma, a 1 percent increase from last year, according to USDA. Winter wheat area, at 42 ma, is up 2 percent from last year and a slight increase from January’s Winter Wheat Seedings report. Acreage increases from the previous report were largely in soft red winter wheat growing areas.

Spring wheat acres are up 3 percent at 12.7 ma but USDA expects farmers to plant 18 percent less durum wheat this year. Its acreage estimate of 1.75 ma fell below the range of pre-report expectations.

Farmers reported they intend to plant 7.62 ma of sorghum, 22 percent more than last year, with Kansas and Texas accounting for 77 percent of the expected increase. As of March 24, 33 percent of Texas’ crop was planted.

USDA expects farmers to plant 10 ma of cotton, a 19 percent decline from last year. If realized, planted area in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Oklahoma will all be record lows.

Rice acres are also expected to decline to 2.61 ma from 2.7 ma last year. USDA cites higher prices for competing commodities for the decline.

Market impact

“Corn quarterly stocks were viewed as bearish, coming in well above the average pre-report estimate and high side of estimates at 5.399 bb,” said DTN Senior Analyst Darin Newsom. “Soybeans were neutral to bearish at 999 mb as compared to the average pre-report estimate of 947 mb. Wheat was also viewed as bearish at 1.234 bb.

“Prospective corn plantings of 97.28 ma should be viewed as bullish, coming in slightly below the average pre-report estimate and only marginally higher than 2012’s 97.2 ma,” Newsom said. “Soybeans were well below the average estimate, coming in at 77.13 ma and should be long-term bullish. All wheat acres of 56.44 million were only slightly above the average 56.4 ma and should be viewed as neutral. Spring wheat at 12.7 was higher than expected while durum at 1.75 ma was lower.” ——Katie Micik, DTN