Fundamentally Speaking
Joel Karlin DTN Contributing Analyst

Wednesday 02/26/14

USDA Acreage Estimates

USDA had their annual Agricultural Outlook Forum last week in Washington with the trade most interested in the initial 2014-15 balance sheet estimates for the major crops.

To start, USDA is forecasting planted acreage for the eight largest crops at 254.4 million acres, down 1.8 from last year with combined corn, soybean, and all wheat area at 227.0 million, down 1.1 million from last year and off 3.1 million from 2012.

With close to 8.5 million acres enrolled in the prevented planting provisions of crop insurance last year and 0.80 million acres coming out of the Conservation Reserve Program, it appears that the USDA’s planted acreage projections for the major crops are all light and many expect higher figures in the March 31 Prospective Seedings report.

2014 estimated corn acreage was put at 92.0 million acres, down from final 2013 seedings of 95.365 million with 2014 soybean area pegged at 79.5 million vs. actual year ago seedings at 76.533 million.

The all wheat planted area at 55.5 million compares to final 2013 seedings at 56.156 million.

With its net prospective return per acre not as favorable relative to soybeans as seen in recent years and lower crop insurance guarantees, intended corn acres were expected to be down this year, though off only to 94-05.0 million.

The USDA soybean planted area figure would be a new record high even with less anticipated double-cropped acreage.

Yet the more favorable returns, land not planted last year going back into production, and indications of lower continuous corn seedings had triggered talk of 80-83.0 million going into the ground.

The wheat figure was more anticipated given the lower than expected winter wheat seedings report given back in January.

This graphic shows the change in acreage from the USDA February Ag Outlook session to their end of March intention figures in 1000 acres.

The 1998-2013 average difference for corn is down 365,000 acres, up 187,000 acres for soybeans, and down 310,000 acres for wheat suggesting the chances of any large deviations from last week’s projections are slight.

We do note that corn acreage in 2007 was 3.5 million higher than the Feb projection and 1.9 million higher in 2012 while in 2006, the March soybean intentions were 2.9 million higher than the February estimate and 3.8 million higher in 2008 so large changes can happen though not that often.

(KA)

Posted at 8:05AM CST 02/26/14
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