Plantings: Soybeans record high; corn, wheat down

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — U.S. farmers intend to boost 2014 soybean planted area by 6% and to a record high 81.5 million acres but reduce corn plantings by 4% and all wheat acreage by 1% from 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its March 31 Prospective Plantings report.

Growers intend to plant a record high 81,493,000 acres of soybeans in 2014, up 6% from 76,533,000 acres in 2013 and slightly above the average trade estimate of 81.4 million acres.

Farmers indicated they intend to plant 91,691,000 acres of corn in 2014, down 4% from 95,365,000 acres in 2013 and below trade expectations that averaged 92.9 million acres.

Planted wheat area for harvest in 2014 was forecast at 55,815,000 acres, down 1% from 56,156,000 acres seeded for harvest in 2013, the U.S.D.A. said.

Winter wheat area seeded in 2013 for harvest in 2014 was estimated at 42,007,000 acres, down 3% from 43,090,000 acres last year but up slightly from the January estimate of 41,892,000 acres. The winter wheat estimate includes 30.2 million acres of hard red, 8.43 million acres of soft red and 3.35 million acres of white wheat.

Farmers intend to plant 1,799,000 acres of durum in 2014, up 22% from 1,470,000 acres last year, and 12,009,000 acres of spring wheat other than durum, up 4% from 11,596,000 acres in 2013. The spring wheat area includes 11.3 million acres of hard red spring wheat.

The U.S.D.A. all wheat planting number was below the average of trade expectations of 56 million acres, with the other spring wheat number also below the average trade estimate of 12.2 million acres but durum was above the trade average of 1.7 million acres.

The plantings report, along with the U.S.D.A.’s Grain Stocks report also released at 11:00 a.m. Central Time, resulted in corn futures trading slightly higher shortly after the report, with old crop soybean futures posting gains. Wheat futures continued to trade lower after the report as they did earlier in the morning.

Concerning winter wheat planted area, the U.S.D.A. said, “States with notable increases from the previous estimate (the January Wheat Seedings report) were Kansas, North Dakota and Tennessee. Record high acreage was planted in North Dakota.”

Of spring wheat other than durum, the U.S.D.A. said, “The largest acreage increases from the previous year are expected in North Dakota and Washington. If realized, planted acres will be record low in Colorado.”

And for durum, the U.S.D.A. said, “Large planted acreage increases are expected in Montana and North Dakota. If realized, planted acres will be record low in South Dakota.”

“Soybean planted area for 2014 is estimated at a record high 81.5 million acres, up 6% from last year,” the U.S.D.A. said. “Compared with last year, planted acreage intentions are up or unchanged in all states with the exception of Missouri and Oklahoma.” The largest increases are expected in North Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska, the U.S.D.A. said.

For corn, the U.S.D.A. said, “If realized, this will represent the lowest planted acreage in the United States since 2010; however, this will represent the fifth largest corn acreage in the United States since 1944. Expected returns for corn are anticipated to be lower in 2014 compared with recent years.”

Area planted to all cotton was forecast at 11,101,000 acres, up 7% from 2013, the U.S.D.A. said.

Intended area planted to rice in 2014 was estimated at 2,877,000 acres, up 16% from 2,489,000 acres in 2013.

Planting intentions for oats totaled 2,794,000 acres, down 7% from 3,010,000 acres in 2013 and the third lowest on record if realized, the U.S.D.A. said.

Area planted to barley was projected at 3,165,000 acres, down 9% from 3,480,000 acres last year and also the third lowest on record.

Growers intend to plant 6,681,000 acres of grain sorghum, down 17% from 8,061,000 acres in 2013.

Peanut planted area was expected to total 1,376,000 acres, up 29% from 1,067,000 acres in 2013, with plantings in top-producing Georgia up 53%.

Sugar beet planting intentions were 1,154,600 acres, down 4% from 1,198,100 acres planted in 2013.
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