"In addition, any significant change in price relationships over
the next four weeks, or unusual spring weather, could alter
planting plans to some extent," said Darrel Good. "Ultimately,
summer weather will be the dominant yield and price factor.
"For now it appears that corn supplies will remain sufficient
for another year, but the crop is not in the bin yet. For
soybeans, supplies will likely remain ample even with reduced
acreage in the United States, due to large current supplies and
record South American production."
Good's comments came as he reacted to the USDA's March 30
Prospective Plantings report.
"The corn market seemed to heave a collective sigh of relief
following the release of the March 1 inventory and planting
intention data contained in the report," he noted.
"The report's numbers tend to alleviate worries that rapidly
expanding ethanol production could result in shortages and
extremely high corn prices in the year ahead. A prolonged period
of high prices might force liquidation of livestock numbers and
push retail meat prices higher."
The report's large acreage number was interpreted as reducing
the likelihood of such a development. Some analysts suggest that
corn could actually be in surplus in 2007-08. In particular,
some believe that there is evidence that the U.S. corn yield has
been increasing at an increasing rate over the last 10 years and
that a trend yield in 2007 would produce a crop near 13 billion
Good noted that careful examination of recent yield patterns,
however, suggests that trend yields have not been increasing at
an increasing rate, but rather that weather has been generally
favorable since 1996.
The USDA report confirmed producers' intentions to increase
corn acreage in 2007. Increases in corn and wheat acreage are
expected to come at the expense of soybean and cotton acreage,
although intentions show a substantial increase in total acreage
to be planted in 2007.
U.S. producers reported intentions to plant 90.454 million
acres of corn in 2007, which is 12.127 million more than planted
last year and 5.866 million more than in 1976, the high in
Percentagewise, the large increases are planned in Arkansas,
Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, but those increases total
only 1.6 million acres. Intentions are for increases of 1.6
million acres in Illinois and 1.3 million acres in Iowa.
[to top of second column]
Producers indicated intentions to plant 67.14 million acres of
soybeans in 2007, 8.382 million fewer than the record plantings in
2006 and the fewest acres planted since 1996. Planting intentions in
western growing areas are down 4.7 million acres, while producers in
the eastern Corn Belt intend to reduce acreage by 2.85 million. The
largest decline, 1.4 million acres, is planned in Illinois.
Producers in the Southeast intend to increase soybean acreage by
Winter wheat seedings, at 44.505 million acres, were 3.903
million larger than seedings of a year earlier. Intentions for durum
wheat, at 1.99 million, are 120,000 larger than seedings of 2006,
but intentions for other spring wheat are down 1.091 million, at
"The intentions for all classes of wheat are pegged at 60.303
million acres, 2.959 million more than seeded last year and the
highest in four years," Good said. "Cotton producers reported
intentions to plant 12.147 million acres in 2007, 3.127 million less
than planted in 2006, with the largest declines in the Delta and the
Actual plantings of winter wheat plus planting intentions for all
crops included in the report totaled 256.266 million acres, 3.258
million more acres than were planted to those crops in 2006.
"In addition, the total number of acres of hay intended for
harvest in 2007 is 2.249 million more than harvested in 2006," said
Good. "On the surface, then, higher crop prices appear to have
enticed an additional 5.5 million acres into production in 2007."
The March 1 inventory of U.S. corn was estimated at 6.07 billion
bushels, 917 million bushels smaller than the inventory of March 1,
2006, but about 75 million bushels larger than expected. Apparent
feed and residual use of corn during the second quarter of the
2006-07 marketing year was about 110 million bushels, or 7 percent,
less than during the same quarter last year.
Use during the first half of the year was 4.3 percent less than
during the first half of the 2005-06 marketing year. For the year,
the USDA has projected feed and residual use of corn at 5.975
billion bushels, 2.7 percent less than fed last year.
"That projection now looks to be too high by about 100 million
bushels," Good said.
March 1 stocks of soybeans totaled 1.784 billion bushels, 115
million more than on the same date last year but 10 million to 15
million bushels less than generally expected.
"The magnitude of 'residual' use of soybeans so far this year
suggests that the 2006 U.S. soybean crop may still be overestimated
a bit," said Good.
[Text from file received
from the University
of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental