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All Eyes On USDA's Ag Outlook Forum

DES MOINES, Iowa ( USDA will show its first projections for the 2016/17 U.S. balance sheets this week.

The annual USDA Ag Outlook Forum gets underway in Arlington, Virginia, Thursday, with the USDA presenting headline numbers on agricultural trade and U.S. crop production. will have full coverage of this year’s event.

Crop Production Projections

On Friday, the USDA/WASDE will update their 2016/17 Baseline Estimates for U.S. and world balance sheets and crop production.

The trade is watching to see if the USDA makes any incremental changes from its December baseline numbers. 

“I would expect to see higher bean and corn acres from last year, due to last year’s final U.S. planting acreage had 4.5 million acres of prevent plan, one CME Group trader, requesting anonymity says. “Over the last nine years, we have had any where from 500,000- to-4.5 million acres of prevent plant for corn and beans combined. So, if you assume normal weather, we should be up on corn and bean acres,” the  trader says.

Overall, the late week USDA report is expected to be bearish to the market, due to the expectations of higher corn plantings in 2016.

In general, the trade sees the USDA projecting the 2016 US corn seeding at 90-91 million acres,  2-3.0 million higher than a year ago. U.S. wheat seeding is expected to drop to 52.5-53.0 million acres, down 1.6-2.1 million, compared with a year ago. And, U.S. soybean acreage is seen at 82.5-83.5 million, down 200,000 acres.

“Corn acres need to be up by more than 1 million to maintain static outlook, the Chicago-based trader says. “Anything less will drop the implied new crop carryout, unless you have above trend weather.”

Carryout Estimates

Also, the trade sees the USDA projecting rising 2016/17 US corn, wheat and soy ending stocks, in its late week WASDE 2016/17 balance sheets.

Pete Meyer, PIRA Energy senior analyst, says that all of his focus will be on how the USDA attempts to keep the 2016/’17 carry outs below 2.0 billion bushels for corn and 500 million bushels of soybeans.  

“Cutting combined acreage much below last March’s Prospective Plantings number of 173 million will draw plenty of scrutiny,” Meyer says.  As will much gain in demand.  I don’t think the acreage numbers will vary much from the December numbers, nor will yield.”

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