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Looking ahead to March 31

Jeff Caldwell 03/16/2011 @ 3:34pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

A lot of corn and beans and a fairly small wheat crop. That's what one market analyis firm expects out of USDA's Prospective Plantings report slated for release in just over 2 weeks on March 31.

Allendale, Inc. released numbers Wednesday showing they expect farmers to plant 91.291 million acres of corn this spring, the second-largest crop since 1944 and just shy of 2 million acres short of the more recent high benchmark of the 93.527 million-acre crop planted in 2007. Allendale analysts expect an average yield of 161.97 bushels per acre, which would make the 2011 crop the largest ever, at 13.551 billion bushels.


Soybeans will see a big year, too, if Allendale's numbers hold true. Wednesday's numbers show an estimate of 77.193 million acres for the nation's bean crop, which would make it the third-highest crop size in history. Factoring in the firm's 43.52-bushel-per-acre yield estimate, and it would make the third-largest crop in history at just shy of 3.32 billion bushels, down from last year's 3.329 billion bushels raised.

These monster crop sizes will likely come at the expense of wheat, of which Allendale analysts estimate farmers will raise 57.435 million acres, the smallest crop since 2006. And, it's likely that number will shrink between now and harvest.

"Using Allendale Inc.'s 43.63 bushel/acre trend yield, it would imply wheat production of 2.142 billion bushels versus last year's 2.208 billion bushel production," according to a report from Allendale market analyst Rich Nelson on Wednesday. "We will internally lower yield to current conditions, from trend, once spring rains are evaluated."

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