Record soybean acres expected, corn acres at 4-year low
By Jennifer Carrico
The prospective planting report released March 31 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service said producers plan to plant a record number of soybean acres nationwide and corn acres will be at a four-year low.
Producers surveyed across the U.S. intend to plant an estimated 81.5 million acres of soybeans in 2014, up 6 percent from last year and an all-time record high. Soybean acres planted are expected to be up or unchanged in all states except Missouri and Oklahoma.
Corn growers intend to plant 91.7 million acres, down 4 percent from last year and the lowest planted acreage since 2010. However, if realized, this will still be the fifth largest corn acreage in the U.S. since 1944.
All wheat acreage for 2014 is estimated to be down 1 percent from 2013, at 55.8 million acres. The 2014 winter wheat acreage is 42 million acres, down 3 percent from last year but up slightly from the previous estimate.
Cotton growers are expected to plant 11.1 million acres in 2014, up 7 percent from last year.
Iowa corn growers are expected to plant 14 million acres of corn, up from 13.6 million acres in 2013 and down from 14.2 million acres from the 2012 crop.
Other states seeing an increase in corn acres over the previous year’s acres are Colorado and Kansas. Decreases in corn acres are expected in Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.
Iowa soybean growers are expected to plant 9.6 million acres of soybeans, up from 9.3 million acres in 2013.
Other states with an expected increase in soybean acres are Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas. The state with the largest increase in acreage is North Dakota, with an expected 22 percent increase in soybean acres.
“Producers with corn-on-corn acres are more likely to switch to more beans this year,” said Iowa Soybean Association President Brian Kemp, who farms near Sibley. “I’d anticipate seeing soybean acres in my area increase by 5 percent.”
Central Iowa farmer Brock Hansen said he hopes to be planting by mid-April. He plans to adjust his 70/30 percent rotation, which has favored corn in the past few years.
“We’re working back to a more 50/50 rotation this year due to economics, pest issues and several of our fields have been corn-on-corn for five or more years,” Hansen said. “Although prices have faded, I feel positive about my current positions with forward sales.”
Other Iowa farmers and farmers all across the Midwest and High Plains have been delayed in the field due to the long, cold winter, which is marked as the coldest and snowiest winter in the past 35 years.
Drought continues to persist in parts of the southern Plains and some uncommonly cold days were experienced in Texas as well.
“Weather is going to be the ultimate difference maker whether soybean acres stay the same or go down. I expect that this will be the highest soybean acreage number that we will see unless we have an extremely wet and cold spring like last year,” said Grant Kimberley, director of market development for the Iowa Soybean Association and central Iowa farmer.
Exports continue to be historically high for U.S. soybeans, which has led to a historically tight soybean stock number as of March 1, totaling 992 million bushels, down 1 percent from a year ago. Domestically, Kimberley said soybean meal demand remains strong as does soybean meal exports.
Corn stocks totaled 7.01 billion bushels, up 30 percent from the same time in 2013. All wheat stored totaled 1.06 billion bushels, down 15 percent from a year ago.
Jennifer Carrico can be reached by phone at 515-833-2120 or by email at email@example.com.