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USDA Sees Switch to Soy in 2017 From Corn

Continued Low Prices

WASHINGTON, D.C. --U.S. farmers will plant a record 84.6 million acres of soybeans in 2017 - up 900,000 acres from this year and enough to assure the second crop in a row above 4 billion bushels - while reining in corn acreage by 5%, projected the Agriculture Department, based on conditions early this month.

Corn plantings would drop to 90 million acres, down by 4.5 million acres from this year, said USDA in tables that will be part of the long-term baseline presented at its annual Outlook Forum in late February. Wheat sowings would total 48.5 million acres, down by 1.7 million acres from this year.

With normal weather and yields, the 2017 corn crop would be 14.060 billion bushels, the third-largest crop ever, though a dramatic drop from the record 15.226 billion bushels being harvested this year. Growers would reap 1.936 billion bushels of wheat, the smallest harvest since 2006.

USDA projected the soybean crop at 4.050 billion bushels in 2017, second only to the estimated 4.361 billion bushels of this year. If growers boost plantings, it would be the second year in a row that soybean acreage sets a record.

U.S. corn and soybean stocks are projected to fall slightly due to the somewhat smaller crops and continued strong demand for the two most widely grown U.S. crops. Farm-gate prices for corn were projected around $3.30 to 3.35 a bushel into 2020. Soybeans would run from $9.35 to $9.40 a bushel in that three-year period.

Plantings of the eight major field crops - wheat, corn, sorghum, barley, oats, soybeans, rice, and upland cotton - would total 248 million acres in 2017 under USDA projections, down by 2.4% from this year’s 254.2 million acres. Plantings of upland cotton would rise slightly, to 10.5 million acres. Aside from soybeans, plantings of the other crops all would decline.

Low commodity prices would discourage production and reduce demand for seed, fertilizer, fuel, and pesticides and also keep pressure on farm income. USDA has forecast net farm income of $71.5 billion, only 58% of the record income seen in 2013 as the agricultural boom collapsed. USDA is scheduled to update the farm income forecast on Wednesday.

FERN’s Ag Insider. Produced by FERN
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