WASHINGTON — The US Department of Agriculture in its annual June 30 Acreage report estimated US corn and wheat planted area below the average of trade expectations, while total wheat area was above the trade average. Futures prices for all three commodities shot higher after the 12:00 Eastern Daylight Time release of the report, including daily limit gains for corn futures.
Meanwhile, estimates of June 1 corn, soybean and wheat stocks, released at the same time in the USDA’s quarterly Grain Stocks report, all came in below the average of trade expectations, adding more fuel to the futures price runup.
The USDA estimated corn planted for grain in 2021 at 92,692,000 acres, and forecast harvested area at 84,495,000 acres, both up 2% from 2020. The average of pre-report trade estimates for planted area was 93,787,000 acres. The USDA’s June planting estimate was 1.7% above the March 31 Prospective Plantings forecast of 91,144,000 acres.
Soybean planted area in 2021 was estimated at 87,555,000 acres, and harvested area was forecast at 86,720,000 acres, both up 5% from last year. The average of trade expectations was 88,955,000 acres. The USDA forecast soybean planted area at 87,600,000 acres in March.
All wheat was the only major grain with planted area above trade expectations. The USDA estimated planted area for all wheat at 46,743,000 acres, up 5% from a year ago, with harvested area forecast at 38,102,000 acres, up 3.7%. The trade average for all wheat planted area was 45,940,000 acres.
In the Grain Stocks report, the USDA estimated June 1 corn stocks in all positions at 4,112 million bus, down 18% from June 1, 2020, and compared with an average trade estimate of 4,144 million bus. Soybean stocks were estimated at 767 million bus, down 44% from last year and compared with the trade average of 787 million bus. All wheat stocks on June 1, which was the start of the 2021-22 marketing year for wheat, were estimated at 844 million bus, down 18% from last year and compared with the trade average forecast of 859 million bus.
While the trade was looking for more corn and soybean acres to replenish supplies for the 2021-22 marketing year, planted area instead came in below trade expectations, even if both were well above year-ago levels. One analyst noted that much of the increase in corn planted area was in North and South Dakota, which are experiencing significant drought conditions, while planted area in states to the east, where rain has been more plentiful, were down from a year ago. The lower-than-expected acreage puts more pressure on strong average yields, which in the western Corn Belt may be in doubt due to drought, analysts said.
Futures prices shot higher as trade added more risk premium to the markets. CME Group corn futures jumped 20¢ to 40¢ a bu with new crop contracts up the 40¢ daily limit. Soybean futures surged more than 90¢ a bu in the three nearby months, while soybean meal added more than $27 per ton and soybean oil gained more than 1¢ a lb. All three wheat classes were up 20¢ to more than 30¢ a bu with spot July Minneapolis spring wheat up 48¾¢.