Apr 03, 2024

Reaction to the 2024 U.S. Prospective Plantings Report

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

In the March Prospective Plantings Report, the USDA estimated the 2024 U.S. corn acreage at 90.0 million acres, which is down 5% or 4.61 million from the 94.64 million planted in 2023. For soybeans, the USDA estimated the 2024 acreage at 86.51 million acres which is up 3% or 2.91 million from 83.6 million planted in 2023.

The survey of farmer planting intensions was as of March 1st and of course, planting intensions can change going forward. The corn acreage was somewhat of a surprise, coming in 1.7 million acres below the average trade estimate. The southern states had the biggest percentage decline in corn acres with Arkansas topping the list at -27%. Another surprise was the overall acreage for the principal crops which fell 6.3 million acres year over year. The states with the biggest overall acreage decline were Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, and South Carolina.

Corn - I view the 90.0 million acres of corn as probably the lowest number we will see this growing season given normal planting weather. The acreage was lower than what the market had anticipated and corn prices moved higher as a result. If the weather cooperates, farmers may take advantage of the improved price and plant 1-2 million more corn acres than indicated in the report, but we will not know until we see how the weather plays out during April and May. The next major report from the USDEA will be the June Planted Report released at the end of June.

If we assume U.S. farmers plant 90.0 million acres of corn in 2023, then they would harvest approximately 82.2 million acres for grain (91.3% of planted). I am going to start the season with a corn yield of 179.0 bu/ac (the USDA is estimating 181.0 bu/ac). Therefore, the initial corn production is estimated at 14.71 billion bushels.

Soybeans - The 2024 U.S. soybean acreage was estimated at 86.51 million acres, which was close to market expectations, so the market reaction was muted. If the planting weather cooperates, 86.51 million acres is probably a good estimate.

If we assume U.S. farmers plant 86.51 million acres of soybeans, then they would harvest 85.55 million acres (98.9% of planted). USDA's estimate of 52.0 bu/ac is OK, so I am going to use that yield to get started. Therefore, the 2024 U.S. soybean crop is estimated at 4.44 billion bushels.