USDA released it 2010 prospective plantings report March 31 and the survey indicates corn acreage across the U.S. will be up 3% from 2009, to 88.8 million acres. Soybean acres are projected at 78.1 million acres, up 1% from last year.
Iowa corn acres are projected at 13.5 million acres, a decrease of 200,000 acres, down about 1% from 2009. Iowa farmers intend to plant 9.9 million acres of soybeans, up 300,000 acres or an increase of about 3% from 2009.
The decrease in corn acres in Iowa is due in part to field work that wasn't completed last fall and because of the normal corn-soybean rotation. Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and Ohio are all expected to see an increase in corn by 300,000 acres or more. Iowa, with 13.5 million acres in corn, would continue to lead the nation in corn acres, despite the drop of 200,000 acres in Iowa.
If realized, the 88.8 million corn acres in the U.S. would be the second-largest area planted to corn since 1947, behind the 2007 crop. The 78.1 million acres of soybeans intended to be planted in 2010 in the U.S. would be a record high. The largest soybean acreage increases are expected in Kansas, up 400,000 acres, and Iowa, up 300,000. Increases of 100,000 or more acres are also expected in Illinois, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Iowa corn and soybean growers beginning to do fieldwork
Iowa Corn Promotion Board chairman Tim Burrack of Arlington in northeast Iowa, and Iowa Corn Growers Association board member Kevin Ross of Minden in southwest Iowa, both say they are optimistic about spring planting weather and the ability for farmers to prepare their fields to plant on time.
Burrack says because of favorable weather the past few weeks he is planning on increasing the amount of corn he plants this year by 160 acres. He adds, "I think farmers will have all of their field work that they weren't able to finish last fall done pretty soon and then we will just be waiting until the soil warms up enough to start planting."
Ross, who farms in southwest Iowa says farmers are starting to finish up any harvesting they weren't able to finish last fall and are starting to do some field work this week as well. He doesn't see many farmers, in his area, increasing or decreasing their acres compared to last year. "Many farmers in my area are on a 50-50 or a 2/3-1/3 corn-soybean rotation," says Ross. "I don't see many of them changing their rotation even though they have been pleasantly surprised as to how quickly field conditions have improved in our area the past few weeks."
June 30 Acreage Report will have data on actual planted acreage
It is important to note that the USDA's March 31 planting intentions report, is just that, an intentions report. USDA surveyed farmers in early March to gather the information. That leaves some time for farmers to change their planting plans before the corn and soybean seed actually winds up in the ground.
Will farmers switch some of the intended record amount of U.S. soybean acres to corn? The USDA's 2010 Acreage Report, based on surveys in early June, will be released June 30. It will more closely reflect the number of acres farmers are actually planting this year to corn and to soybeans.
"If we have a good stretch of favorable, dry weather in April, I can see some farmers switching some of their acres," says Burrack. "But that all depends on the weather."
U.S. farmers expect to plant record number of soybean acres
In the end, weather will be a major determinant of the final acreage mix. But USDA's 2010 planting intentions survey, with the results released March 31, does give farmers and the grain trade an early look at what to expect this year.
Nationally, soybean acres for 2010 are projected at 78.1 million acres, up 1% from last year, while corn is expected to be at 88.8 million acres, up 3% from 2009. This means U.S. growers could harvest a record-large 13.1 billion bushels of corn and a near-record 3.3 billion bushels of soybeans.
Iowa growers' intentions for planting soybeans are projected at 9.9 million acres, up 300,000 acres or an increase of about 3% from 2009. Iowa corn acres are projected at 13.5 million acres, down 200,000 acres or about 1% from 2009.
Estimate for 2010 soybean acres is higher, but demand is strong
Iowa Soybean Association chief executive Kirk Leeds says although the 2010 estimate for soybean acres is higher than last year's acreage that was planted in the U.S. and in Iowa, it is lower than many analysts had expected. "For soybeans, the acreage number isn't enough to offset huge demand or to give any allowance for poor weather," Leeds says.
"The market reflects a clear understanding that long-term demand for soybeans (meal and oil) remains very strong," Leeds adds. "It appears the global economy is beginning to rebound. As it does, especially in Asia, the rapidly rising trend line in the demand for soy will resume, perhaps more than many expect."
Grant Kimberley, ISA director of market development, notes, "In addition, it is likely Congress will pass the biodiesel tax credit later this spring, and with the RFS-2, demand for soy will also grow, due to biodiesel." The Obama Administration has indicated that free trade agreements are a priority. "This will be important for us to continue to develop new markets. Currently, there are three outstanding trade agreements – with Panama, Columbia and South Korea – which have been negotiated and need to move forward," adds Kimberley.