Just how big a record high will US soybean plantings set
this year? Or will they even set a record at all?
Leading ag commentators give their views on US crop seedings
Todd Becker, chief
executive, Green Plains
If you take a look at the profitability of the farmer in the
seven or eight best producing states in the US it actually is profitable to
produce corn again.
We're starting to do internal surveys with those 8,800 customers
across our supply chain, and what we're seeing anecdotally is that we don't
believe that [the fall in corn acreage] will be… as extreme as the market sees.
So our view is that in a normal growing season, that's all
we can bet on, between 90m-93m acres of planting.
Pat Bowe, chief
executive, The Andersons
We estimate that US farmer will plant 90m-93m acres of corn in
2017 which will be below the million acres planted in 2016. This still is a
Our soybean forecast is positive. We think 87m-90m acres
will be planted which would be a 5% higher than last year's 83m acres.
Bert Frost, senior
vice-president of sales, CF Industries
Despite the record or near-record corn and soybean crops
expected this year, 2017 futures prices suggest continued profitability at the
farm level for corn and soybeans.
We are forecasting 88m acres of corn, and for wheat to acres
to remain flat at 50m acres
Todd Hubbs, University
Current expectations for soybean planted acreage encompass a
wide range of possibilities. Some observers place planted acreage levels at 89
million acres or greater.
The lower cost of producing soybeans relative to corn and
the perceived price advantage of soybeans over corn drive expectations of an
acreage shift from corn to soybeans. The price advantage of soybeans relative
to corn maintains a strong soybean position.
Given the number of factors pointing toward greater soybean
planted acreage in 2017, planted acreage near 87.4m is a reasonable
expectation. Since 1996, an increase in soybean planted acreage exceeded 4m
acres three times.
While the possibility exists for a 6m-7m-acre increase in
soybean acreage this year, it would be one of the largest shifts in soybean
planted acreage on the historical record.
Chuck Magro, chief
Crop prices remain under pressure from last year's record
yields. As a result, we expect US corn acreage to be between 90m-92m acres in
2017, down from 94m acres last year.
Soybean acreage, which requires fewer inputs, is expected to
increase, but this impact will be partly offset by an expected increase in
cotton and canola acreage in North America.
Terry Reilly, Futures
We are still under the impression soybean acres will not top
corn acres in 2017, based on normal rotation and recent appreciation in corn
The November soybean: December corn ratio declined from its
peak of 2.70 on December 1 to 2.57 as of Friday morning.
Row crop profitability projections still favour soybean
plantings over corn, but we are not convinced there will be a net 11m-acre
shift to soybeans, year-over-year. Nor ignore that producers plant corn to get
to the soybeans.
New crop corn and soybean prices are generating similar
operating profits of circa $3.80 an acre for US farmers, while soybeans are $33
per acre more profitable than corn on a net income basis..
Similar operating profits might result in a
smaller-than-expected decline in US corn acreage during 2017-18. Hence, we are
becoming a bit cautious on corn price prospects
Soybeans still makes economic sense, while corn remains the
traditional crop for US farmers.