Time to Talk Acreage?

Winter wheat acres have plummeted. Oil prices are tanking. Bumper crops of corn and soybeans have left the market in bearish territory.

So will this lead farmers to plant fewer acres this spring? The answer might be different than you expect.

“It actually appears as if overall acres—well, corn and soybean acres—are going to be up,” said Joe Vaclavik of Standard Grain, speaking on U.S. Farm Report. “We know that winter wheat acres are going to be down pretty significantly. The way the corn and soybean acreage is going to go remains to be seen.”

Rich Nelson, chief market strategist for Allendale, agreed. “Between preventative plant last year, which was very large at 6.7 million acres … and (using) even an average planting season, you’re going to come out maybe 1.7 million acres back into grain production here,” he said, also speaking on U.S. Farm Report. “On top of that, you’ve got 800,000 acres out of (conservation), plus the winter wheat acres, so we’ve got just over 5 million acres extra between corn, beans, spring wheat and the small grains.”

Given all those factors, Nelson expects to see farmers plant an additional 2 million acres of corn and soybeans this year.

How will the rotation shake out? It’s too early to tell, according to Vaclavik.

“There’s a couple different schools of thought there,” he said. “The one school of thought is that soybeans (have) cheaper inputs (so) we‘re going to see expanded bean acreage. The other side of that is that (margins) in a lot of areas pencil out a little bit better for corn right now given current prices … so despite cheap prices, you’re going to see a year-to-year increase in corn acreage.”

Nelson also expects to see an uptick in small grain acreage as well. “We certainly have heard a lot of these western Corn Belt producers and western Plains producers saying (they might plant) a little more sorghum, maybe a little more barley as well,” he said.

Source: Alison Rice,

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