US projected plantings see corn hike and slight soy dip

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Wheat

The 2016 plantings for corn are expected to increase from previous years as the amount of soybean acres fall slightly. 

Details of the feed crop plantings, along with other crop expectations were released in Thursday’s Prospective Plantings​ report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“Corn planted area for all purposes in 2016 is estimated at 93.6m acres, up 6% from last year,”​ noted the report. “If realized, this will represent the highest planted acreage in the US since 2013, and will be the third highest planted acreage in the US since 1944.”

However, the area anticipated to be planted with soybean is set to be down by 82.2m acres, about 1% of a decline from last year, they reported.

The anticipated plantings offers some surprises, said Paul Mitchell, associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin and state extension specialist.

The expectation was that the acreage of corn would see some reduction and that there would be growth in the soybean plantings.

“The market is telling people to grow less corn, but that isn’t what happened,”​ he told FeedNavigator. Since details about the prospective plantings have been released, the December corn futures market has dropped about $0.14 a bushel, he added.

The increased expected corn plantings also may be a response to a crop system that does not offer many alternatives, he said. “They’re just locked into the system, and we don’t have the alternatives,”​ he added.

“We plant so much corn because it’s a good crop,” ​said Mitchell. “There’s a lot of moisture in the soil so it can get up, and get growing, and as long as you get a little rain during pollination you’ve got a crop.”

However, he said, there could be changes between what is predicted and what is eventually planted depending on what weather happens during the spring.

Corn and soy details

The Midwest did not see drastic changes in terms of corn plantings, officials noted in the report. States like Illinois, Indiana and Iowa were up only slightly compared to last year.

Farmers in all three states reported an intent to plant about 103% of the area they had planted with corn in 2015, said the USDA.

However, there were larger changes for states in the south and the west, said Mitchell. The additional acres in those areas may be a response to improved corn hybrids that address issues specific to those regions.     

In the south, Arkansas is expected to plant about 790,000 acres, an increase of 172% from last year, Georgia to have 390,000 acres up about 118% and Louisiana about 730,000 acres a boost of 183%, reported USDA. In the west, Colorado is up 114%, Idaho by 114% and North Dakota’s plantings have been increased by 124%.

Nevada is expected to increase corn plantings by 200%, or from 2,000 acres to 4,000 acres, they added.

Overall soy plantings are similar to what was planted last year, the agency reported. States that saw the biggest drops in predicted plantings include Louisiana and Mississippi, while Texas and Missouri had the largest expected increases.

Other crops

The acreage planted with wheat has already decreased by about 9% to about 49.6m acres from 2015, officials noted in the report. The area planted with winter wheat has dropped by 8% from last year and 1% from previous estimates.

Areas planted in spring wheat are expected to be down by 14% from 2015, they said.

Sorghum planting is down in several states, with some southern states like Arkansas planting 31% of last year’s acreage, Mississippi planting 42% and Missouri planting 48%, reported the USDA.

Other states also saw decreases in the amount they expect to see planted with the overall US sorghum predicted plantings dropping to about 7.2m acres or about 85% of last year’s crop, the USDA reported.

Predicted oat plantings were also down, dropping from about 3.09m acres in 2015 to about 2.8 for 2016, the agency said. Barley plantings are anticipated to be at about 88% of last year’s crop or 3.1m acres and canola is at about 98% of the past crop with an expectation of about 1.7m acres.

However, the hay crop is expected to be about the same as last year’s, they said. Overall predicted acreage is 54.3m acres.

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