Corn Acres Up 5% And A Near-Perfect Growing Season Is Needed to meet expected demand. USDA released its annual Prospective Plantings report Thursday, showing U.S. farmers intend to plant 92.2 million acres of corn, up 5% from last year; 76.6 million acres of soybeans, down 1%; 58 million acres of wheat, up 8%; and 12.6 million acres of cotton, up a whopping 15%. USDA surveyed 85,000 farms between Feb. 26 and March 17, and those producers indicated they’ll plant an additional 7.77 million acres over last year to all crops, up 2%.
Based on this acreage estimate, corn yields would need to average 159.7 bushels per acre to maintain current carry-out levels. To increase carry-out stocks to near 1 billion bushels, an average yield of 163.5 bushels per acre would be needed. In 2009, American farmers set the all-time yield record at 164.7 bushels per acre. Last year, farmers harvested 152.8 bushels per acre.
USDA also released its report on grain stocks. Corn stocks in all positions stood at 6.52 billion bushels, below what traders expected. “Market reaction to the report was immediate, with a limit advance on the futures board Thursday,” said TCFA Market Director Don Close, “and the options trade was implying a second limit advance today (Friday). All three major users of corn—livestock feeding, ethanol and exports are slugging it out toe to toe in the market and nobody is rationing corn supplies…yet.”