USDA sees only modest drop in acres
With a soybean-to-corn futures ratio that favors beans, USDA expects a shift to larger soybean plantings in 2014. But that change will be part of larger crop acreage that won't decline much.
That's the early guess shared by Chief Economist Joe Glauber as the department's annual Outlook Forum began in Arlington, Virginia, Thursday.
Total acreage planted to corn, wheat, and soybeans is projected to be 227 million acres, a decline of 1.1 million acres, mostly reflecting a decline in soft red winter wheat seedings last fall.
Corn and soybean acreage is expected to total 171.5 million acres, about 400,000 less than in 2013. USDA projects corn acres falling 3.4 million acres from last year, to 92 million acres. Soybean acres are expected to increase by 3 million to 79.5 million acres.
A more accurate estimate, based on a producer survey, will be released March 31 in the Prospective Plantings report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service. And those farmer intentions can change, too, if spring weather isn't favorable.