USDA's 2015 Planted Acreage report released June 30 shows Iowa farmers planted 100,000 more acres to soybeans this year than last year. Iowa's increase has helped push soybean acreage in the U.S. to a record high in 2015.
The USDA survey shows 10 million acres of soybeans in Iowa, up from 9.9 million acres a year ago. Iowa's 2015 soybean acreage is the state's largest since 2006. Nationwide, 85.1 million acres of soybeans were planted this year, compared with 83.7 million in 2014. The rise in soybean acreage comes as farmers are attracted to lower input costs and a more favorable price outlook for the crop. Nationally, corn plantings are down 2% from a year ago.
Nationally corn acreage is down 2% in 2015, Iowa unchanged
Planting more beans is a way to reduce production costs, at least a little bit, when prices are low and times are financially tight, says Chad Hart, Iowa State University Extension grain marketing economist.
The USDA survey shows corn is planted on an estimated 88.9 million acres nationwide in 2015, the fewest acres since 2010. In Iowa, the No. 1 corn producing state, 13.7 million acres are in corn this year.
Generally, Iowa's corn and soybean crops this year are looking good, despite too much rain in some places in recent weeks. Last week's deluge that dumped from 3 to 7 inches of rain over a wide area of Iowa has left drowned-out spots in many fields. USDA's weekly weather and crop conditions survey says as of June 28, 78% of the state's soybean crop and 83% of its corn crop were in good-to-excellent condition.
Iowa's 2015 crop conditions are better than other states
The crop situation is not as good elsewhere, such as Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Kansas. In those states, excessive rainfall in June has delayed soybean planting; many farmers haven't been able to finish. The continued pattern of too much rain is prompting worries about this year's corn yields in the "wetter-than-average" states. Market analysts say this wet weather will prompt USDA to decrease the estimated number of planted and harvested acres later this year.
In a separate report issued June 30, USDA said stocks of corn in the U.S. as of June 1 were estimated at 4.45 billion bushels, up from 3.85 billion a year earlier. Soybean stocks were 625.4 million bushels, compared with 405 million at the same time in 2014. The USDA quarterly grain stocks estimate as of June 1, 2015 was smaller than most market analysts were expecting.
Maybe not as much corn out there as previously thought
This result, coupled with a decline in U.S. corn planted acreage this June compared to what USDA had forecast in its March planting intentions survey, has led some market analysts to believe there isn't as much corn available as was previously projected. The situation is pushing corn prices a little higher. Corn for July delivery on the Chicago Board of Trade rose 31 cents to $4.14 a bushel on Tuesday. Soybeans rose 53 cents to $10.56 a bushel, also for July delivery.