Data from the US officials dealing with distribution of farm
support cash signals that corn and soybean sowings may have been higher than
current estimates show, a factor seen adding to pressure on prices.
The Farm Service Agency lifted by more than 800,000 acres to
93.8m acres its figure for US corn sowings for the forthcoming harvest.
While lower than the US Department of Agriculture's official
forecast of 96.4m acres, the FSA figure, gauged by farmers' returns to the
agency, does not reflect all plantings.
Some farms, particularly larger ventures, chose not to enrol
in FSA programmes, and so go uncounted in its data.
In September last year, the FSA figure for planted acres -
including failed crops, but now sowings which farmers were unable to complete -
was some 3.6% short of the final USDA estimate.
Applying a similar adjustment to the latest FSA report would
lift the USDA corn sowings figure to 97.3m acres.
That is some 900,000 acres more than the USDA has currently
For soybeans - for which the FSA raised its acreage figure
by some 800,000 acres to 75.7m acres - a similar methodology also signals a higher figure
for actual US plantings of the oilseed than current USDA thinking.
At 77.2m acres, the implied sowings figure is 1.1m acres
above the USDA estimate.
The figures were viewed by broker Country Futures as among
the "negative" factors which sent crop prices sharply lower on Monday.
In corn, the data also complicate a debate over how many acres
US farmers will end up harvesting for grain.
While many analysts believe the drought has forced the
abandonment a higher percentage of crop than the USDA is currently factoring
in, their estimates are based on the current forecast for overall sowings of 96.4m