February 23, 2004
US Corn, Soy Planting Seen Higher For 2004-05
The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted Friday that U.S. farmers will plant more corn and soybeans for the 2004-05 marketing year than they did for 2003-04. Wheat acreage, though, will drop off 1.2 million acres, the USDA said in a report released during its annual agriculture outlook forum.
The USDA forecast that U.S. farmers will plant 80.5 million acres with corn for the 2004-05 marketing year, up from the latest estimate of 78.7 million acres for 2003-04, which was released earlier in this month's supply and demand report.
U.S. corn farmers will be planting more in 2004 in hopes of seeing yields rise even higher than last year, the USDA said.
The USDA said in the Friday release that "despite widespread hot, dry conditions late last summer in some areas, national average corn yields were a record and up more than 9% from 2002. Given better yield prospects for corn and attempts to reduce disease and pest problems, there are indications that some corn belt producers are planting two consecutive years of corn, followed by one year of soybeans - or in some cases continuous corn."
Soybean planting for 2004-05 will likely reach the record level of 74.5 million acres - up from the current estimate of 73.4 million acres for 2003- 04 - because farmers are expecting strong prices to continue, the USDA said in the report.
"With relatively high soybean prices heading into planting season, prospects appear good for increased soybean planting in 2004," USDA said.
The forecast adds that soybean planting will be especially strong in the corn belt and Northern Plains regions "where relatively high net returns for soybeans indicate likelihood of continued expansion."
Farmers are forecast to plant just 60.5 million acres of wheat for the 2004-05 marketing year, according to the USDA, which stressed that would make acreage planted "the fourth lowest since 1973."
The USDA said in the report released Friday: "Estimated 2004 winter wheat seedings was released in January and is down 1.48 million acres from last year, with most of the decline in hard red winter. Although soft red winter plantings are up slightly from last year, they were at the low end of
expectations. White winter seedings are down 7% from last year, but make just a minor contribution to the fall aggregate winter wheat seedings."