The results of USDA's 2009 Planted Acreage survey, released June 30, show that farmers in the United States have planted more acres to soybeans this year than ever before.
The new USDA estimate for soybean planting this year is 77.483 million acres. That's up from 75.718 million in 2008. The new 2009 estimate is also up from USDA's March prediction of 76.024 million acres.
For Iowa, the June 30 report shows soybean plantings for 2009 are estimated at 9.8 million acres, up from 9.75 million acres for 2009. Acreage estimated for harvest is 9.75 million acres for 2009, up from 9.67 last year.
Tight soybean supplies, high prices boost acreage
Tight soybean supplies and high prices are behind the increase in planted acreage, says USDA. Representatives of the Iowa Soybean Association say they are not surprised by the report.
"I thought we would see slightly more increase in Iowa than 50,000 acres," says Kirk Leads, the chief executive officer of ISA. "Even with the global economic slowdown, we are still seeing strong demand for soybeans and soy meal around the globe. In China, especially, while economic growth is slowing, there is still growth in demand for soybeans. On our recent ISA trip to Turkey, we also heard that demand in the Middle East remains good."
Acreage increase isn't as much as some expected
Grant Kimberley, ISA's director of market development, agrees that the demand for soybeans is strong. "This report doesn't provide a supply cushion," he says. "While this acreage increase may help to increase the supply modestly, the cushion will not be as great as some people may have expected. Achieving trend line yields or greater this year will be most important in achieving an adequate soybean supply."
As always, weather is the key. John Heisdorffer, a farmer from Keota in southeast Iowa, who is president of ISA, says, "Due to wet conditions in some areas, we may be seeing the prevented planting option of the USDA farm program being used this year. We know there are still acres out there that have not been planted or are being replanted."
In the areas that have been wetter this year, such as the southeast corner of Iowa and into Illinois and Missouri, river bottoms that might have been certified with FSA as corn acres may now be going to beans, he says. "In any case, growing conditions from here on out will be critical as to how big of a soybean crop we harvest this coming fall."