US Farmers to Plant Less Corn, Soyabeans in 2018

Mar 29, 2018

Gregory Meyer in New York, March 

Price rally on lower acreage numbers

US farmers have retrenched in the face of low agricultural prices by setting plans to plant less corn and soyabeans this year, sending grain prices higher.

A government survey released Thursday showed farmers intended to plant 88m acres with corn this year, down 2 per cent from the spring of 2017. Soyabeans will cover 89m acres, down 1 per cent on year.

This would mark the second year in history that US farmers would plant more soyabeans than corn, a reflection of strong demand for products made from the versatile oilseed, such as livestock feed. Yet analysts had expected to see soyabean acres at a record 90.9m acres.

“Both corn and soyabean acres being down tells me that farmers are feeling the impact of lower prices,” said Bill Lapp of Advanced Economic Solutions, a consultancy in Omaha.

Grain prices have been weak for several years, a result of successive large harvests in major producers such as the US, Brazil and Russia.

Soyabean prices rallied earlier this year as a drought afflicts the crop in Argentina, but remain relatively low by historical standards.

As a sign of plentiful conditions, the US Department of Agriculture also reported that domestic stocks of soyabeans ballooned 21 per cent year on year to a record 2.11bn bushels as of March 1. Corn stocks rose 3 per cent from last year to 8.89bn bushels.

The lower-than-expected acreage figures propelled grain markets higher. In Chicago, November soyabean futures jumped 2.4 per cent to $10.415 a bushel, while December corn rose 1.9 per cent to $4.045 a bushel.


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