STILLWATER, Okla. – Recent U.S. Department of Agriculture data on prospective crop plantings showed dramatically higher numbers of corn acres and dramatically fewer acres for soybeans and wheat than what was expected by analysts, a situation that could pressure wheat prices lower.
According to the USDA numbers, American farmers are likely to plant 95.9 million acres of corn this year. The pre-report average guess was for approximately 94.7 million acres, with the highest pre-report estimation at 95.7 million acres.
If farmers realize their reported intentions, this will represent the greatest number of acreages for corn plantings in the United States since 1937, when an estimated 97.2 million acres were planted.
Kim Anderson, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension grain marketing specialist and emeritus professor of agricultural economics, said wheat prices could take a tumble next fall if corn harvests are good, despite the lowered number of acres planted to wheat.
“A lot of wheat which is now being used for feed would be replaced by corn,” he said.
America’s wheat plantings are well under what was expected: 55.9 million acres versus the pre-report estimate of 57.45 million acres.
For the winter wheat crop planted, Oklahoma is shown as having planted 5.4 million acres this past fall, an increase of 6 percent compared to the 2011 crop, which is the fourth-largest acreage in the country on a state-by-state basis. Only Kansas, North Dakota and Texas planted more acres to winter wheat than did Oklahoma for the 2012 harvest.
In addition, USDA data shows that U.S. soybean plantings are well under what was projected before the May 30 report, coming in at 73.9 million acres, a figure that is significantly less than the expected 75.5 million acres.
Many traders had assumed that a recent increase in soybean prices would have a lot of farmers switching to soybeans from corn and cotton, depending on the producer’s location in the country.
“This number could mean underlying strength for soybean prices for much of the growing season,” Anderson said.
The U.S. cotton acreage number came in above what was projected at 13.2 million acres. The pre-report expectation was 12.7 million acres.
Oklahoma typically generates about $47 million in cash receipts for soybeans and $67 million in cash receipts for cotton in a given year.