April 14, 2024

Survey: Acreage shift below expectations

MCHENRY, Ill. — A survey of farmers across the Corn Belt indicated an expected corn-to-soybeans acreage shift may not be to the extent the trade and the U.S. Department of Agriculture expected.

Rich Nelson, Allendale Inc. chief strategist, detailed the results of the firm’s annual acreage survey conducted Feb. 26-March 8 with participation from 28 states.

The survey, a lead-in to USDA’s March 28 prospective plantings report, was conducted by phone, internet and in-person at the Commodity Classic.

Respondents included representatives from 12 states that represent 83% of the nation’s total corn and soybean production.

Corn

The survey results had corn planting intentions of 93.472 million acres, 1.2 million below 2023, compared to the USDA Ag Forum’s projection of 91 million acres.

“Producers told us quite consistently that perhaps there would be not that much of a switch,” Nelson noted.

Using 91.26% harvested corn acres and 181.9 trend yields, production of 15.515 billion would be realized. This would be 173 million bushels over 2023 and a production record, according to Allendale’s projection.

Total supply, composed of production, beginning stocks and imports, would push to a new record, as well of 17.711 billion bushels, including 2.172 billion bushels of beginning stocks. That would be 985 million over last year.

“This survey would suggest the lack of serious declines for corn acreage would lead us a little strained regarding potential price action this year,” Nelson said.

Soybeans

USDA’s Ag Forum projected 87.5 million soybean planted acres in February, nearly a 4-million-acre increase from 2023.

“Our survey curtailed that back to soybean planting intentions of 85.832 million acres, a 2.2 million increase from last year. This would be the fifth highest planting ever,” Nelson said.

“Instead of a large increase in soybean acreage, it’s a more reined-in increase. It would make the supply a little more manageable than USDA’s February conference.”

Using 98.72% harvested and 51.4 trend yields, Allendale projected production of 4.358 billion bushels. That would be the third largest production in history and 193 million bushels more than last year.

The total supply of production, beginning stocks and imports would total 4.712 billion, 253 million above a year ago.

“It’s a concerning supply increase, but not as much as the market discussed in recent weeks,” Nelson said.

Wheat

USDA’s Ag Forum forecast all wheat planted acres of 47 million, 2.575 million below last year.

Allendale’s survey had all wheat acreage at 47.622 million acres, 2 million down from last year.

Using 80% harvested acres and 49.5 trend yields, production is projected at 1.866 billion bushels, according to Allendale’s projection.

“This would be 74 million over last year, but this not a production record and not a record supply,” Nelson said.

Allendale estimated a total all wheat supply of 2.689 billion bushels, 162 million over last year.

“Not burdensome, but this would be the largest total supply in four years,” Nelson said. “So, the message from our survey findings was we probably will see some light switching of acres, but not to the extent that the trade has been expecting.”

Marketing Trends

The survey also asked producers their current positions on old and new crop sales.

“As you would have expected in this lower price environment, producers on the corn side have seen a decline in old crop marketing,” Nelson said.

Survey respondents said they had 63% of the old crop corn sold — the lowest five years — and 11.4% of new crop corn sold, the lowest in four years.

“We are changing our marketing patterns after the prior three years of higher prices,” Nelson said.

About 70% of old crop soybeans have been marketed, lower than the prior three years when there were higher prices in general. That 70% would be the lowest in five years.

Survey respondents said only 8.2% of their new crop soybeans have been marketed, also the lowest in four years.

“We are returning to marketing patterns similar to the other large supply scenarios,” Nelson said.

Last year, producers had 76% of old crop corn and 15% of new crop corn sold as of early March, while 85% of old crop soybeans had already been sold and 14% of new crop soybeans.

“In general, this survey does kind of change some viewpoints regarding what could be seen for total supply this year, perhaps a little larger supply on the corn side than the market would like to see. This does depend on trend yields,” Nelson said.

“As for soybeans, perhaps not as much of an increase as the trade prior expected to see.”

Tom Doran

Tom C. Doran

Field Editor