USDA Estimate Exceeds Expectations for Record Soybean Acres


Soybeans will be on the verge of matching corn acres in the U.S. this year, according to the USDA’s Prospective Plantings report published Friday.

Higher soybean acres has been the consensus in the market for some time, but the department’s soybean acreage estimate of 89.5 million was still well above the average pre-report guess of 88.2 million (and 83.4 million in 2016.)

“A bit of a shocker coming out at 89.5. That was right at the high end of expectations or estimates going into the report,” notes Brian Voth, president of IntelliFarm Inc., in the interview below.

The corn acreage estimate was also lower than expected, coming in at 89.99 million — roughly a million acres lower than the average trade estimate of 90.97 million.

“That puts corn and soybean acres, according to this report, within half a million acres of each other, and that would be the closest these acres have ever been in U.S. history,” says Voth.

On the wheat side, the all-wheat acreage estimate was in line with expectations of a much smaller area at 46.1 million. (Durum acres took a big hit — down 17 percent from last year.)

The USDA also had bearish news for the soybean market in Quarterly Grain Stocks, which was also released on Friday.

“Soybeans got the double whammy today,” notes Voth, as March 1 soybean stocks were pegged at 1,735 million bushels versus the average trade estimate of 1,684.

The quarterly stocks number for corn was also bearish, while the USDA’s wheat estimate was (again) in line with expectations.

Voth joined us on RealAg Radio to break down the USDA acreage estimates, and look ahead to Statistics Canada’s first survey-based acreage numbers on April 21:

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