US soybean plantings next year will break the record even more comfortably than had been thought, with wheat proving more popular, as low prices encourage farmers to switch from corn.
Informa Economics, in its second forecast for US crop areas next year, lifted its estimate for soybean plantings by 300,000 to 83.9m acres.
A figure at that level would come in well ahead of the 77.2m acres sown this year - according to US Department of Agriculture data which many investors believe may be revised lower to account for a poor spring seeding period – and the current record of 78.1m acres set in 2010.
For wheat, Informa hiked its sowing forecast by 1.0m acres to 57.7m acres, representing a rise of 1.2m acres year on year, although still a relatively low number by historical standards.
US wheat area peaked at 88.3m acres in 1981.
Out of favour
The increases in soybean and wheat area came at the expense of corn, for which the area estimate was cut by 1.0m acres to 91.7m acres.
That represents a drop of 5.7m acres year on year, on current USDA data, although again many investors believe that the official figure for 2013 plantings is overestimated, given the rain-affected spring planting window.
Informa kept at 11.2m acres its forecast for US cotton seedings next year.
Weather and pricing effects
The revisions reflect, for wheat, in part good weather for winter sowings in the US, with rains which have provided some setbacks to corn and soybean harvesting moistening soils which have been suffering persistent drought in the southern Plains hard red winter wheat area.
In Kansas, the top US wheat state, growing in the main hard red winter varieties, although 40.5% of land is in drought, that is down from 70.5% three months ago.
However, pricing is also playing a role, with corn futures falling to a three-year low on Monday on expectations of a record US harvest, while soybean prices remain elevated by historical standards.
The soybean: corn ratio, viewed as a key indicator of the relative appeal of the crops, has risen to 2.42 from 2.40 since Informa's initial estimate, comparing November 2014 soybean futures with the December 2014 corn contract.
While interpretations differ, many analysts see figures above 2.25 as favouring soybeans in planting programmes.
Wheat futures have also outperformed corn, a reflection of relatively thin US stocks of the grain at a time of strong demand from the likes of Brazil and China, whose own harvests were impaired by late rains.