The USDA released its highly anticipated Prospective Plantings report Monday, and the report showed a cut in corn acreage and uptick for soybeans.
According to the report, the USDA estimates 2014 corn planted area for all purposes at 91.7 million acres, down 4 percent from 2013. If realized, this crop will be the lowest planted acreage since 2010 but the fifth largest since 1944.
Iowa, the nation’s top corn-producing state, expects to see a slight increase in corn acreage. The USDA anticipates Iowa to plan 400,000 more acres of corn in 2014 than in 2013.
The USDA estimates soybean planted acreage at a record high of 81.5 million acres, up 6 percent from last year. Compared with last year, planted acreage intentions are up or unchanged across all States with the exception of Missouri and Oklahoma.
The report shouldn’t come as a surprise to most traders, who already anticipated a drop in corn acreage. In a Reuters survey, analysts expected high prices for soybeans to encourage more U.S. farmers to pull back on corn. However, while corn acreage was expected to shrink, it was still expected to be higher than announced at the USDA’s annual outlook forum.
"I think the big unanswered question is, 'what happened to the prevented planting acres when USDA did their ag outlook?'" said Mike Zuzolo of Global Commodity Analytics in Atchison, Kansas.
Uncertainty surrounding the acreage numbers kept the market on edge ahead of big report. The plantings report is based on a survey of more than 80,000 U.S. farmers.
"Why would we not plant 4 or 5 million acres that we tried to plant last year? That makes no sense to me. The USDA forum numbers are wild guesses, and I just think they are all too low," said Terry Roggensack, analyst with the Hightower Report in Chicago.