Good said that anticipating planted acreage of the two crops is
complicated by a number of factors. The first issue is the
magnitude of acreage available for planting of all spring crops.
Some additional cropland acreage has become available in 2013
due to less acreage being enrolled in the Conservation Reserve
Program. That acreage is reported at 27.04 million acres, 2.62
million less than enrolled last year.
"How much of that reduction will be planted to crops in 2013
is not known," Good said. "Winter wheat seedings reported by the
USDA in January were nearly 600,000 acres larger than seedings
of a year ago. The acreage of soft red winter wheat is up about
1.3 million acres, while seedings of other classes of wheat were
less than those of a year earlier. Some of the increase in soft
red winter wheat acreage may be double-cropped with soybeans.
The condition of the hard red winter wheat crop going into
dormancy this winter was generally quite poor. While ratings
have improved somewhat, the poor condition suggests that more
than the normal amount of that acreage may be abandoned.
Depending on moisture conditions going forward, some abandoned
acres may get replanted to other crops this spring," he said.
Additionally, the acreage of spring-planted crops will be
influenced by spring weather conditions and the magnitude of
prevented plantings, Good reported. Prevented planting acres
totaled only 1.24 million acres in 2012, after being quite large
in 2009, 2010 and 2011. In those three years, prevented
plantings were reported at 4.18 million, 6.89 million and 9.62
million acres, respectively. Prospects for prevented planting
this year once again focus on the northern Plains states, where
snow cover suggests the potential for spring flooding. An
increase in prevented plantings would presumably reduce the
total acreage planted this spring. The potential magnitude of
that acreage will not be known for several weeks.
The second issue surrounding acreage is the share of the
total available acreage that will be planted to individual
crops. "In general, it is believed that corn and soybeans will
be very competitive with cotton and rice acreage in the Delta
and portions of the Southeast," Good said. "As a result, corn
and soybeans are expected to garner a larger share of the
acreage pie in those areas. In the northern Plains states, the
relevant competition will be between spring wheat, corn,
soybeans and other oilseed crops. The outcome of that
competition may be mostly a function of spring weather," he
Taken together, the issues Good described suggest that total
corn and soybean acreage could be near the level of 2012. Early
expectations were for corn acreage to increase modestly and for
soybean acreage to be almost unchanged. Changing price
relationships and a more favorable spring price for soybeans for
crop revenue insurance may have altered those expectations
[to top of second column]
Good said the USDA will report the results of the spring planting
survey in the Prospective Plantings report to be released on
Thursday. "Intentions for corn and soybean plantings equal to or
slightly larger than those of last year would not be a surprise,"
Good said. "Given that planting of those crops in the Corn Belt will
be later than last year’s planting, there is more opportunity for
actual plantings to deviate from intentions this year. Weather
conditions, planting progress and price relationships will be
monitored closely to judge potential changes," he said.
The later planting this season is also generating some further
discussion of yield potential, particularly for corn.
"As learned again last year, corn yields are mostly determined by
summer weather conditions," Good said. "However, agronomic research
clearly indicates that planting date, everything else being equal,
can have some influence on yield outcome. In particular, there is an
increasingly large yield penalty associated with corn planted late.
That same research suggests that maximum yield potential is
associated with corn planted in a fairly large window of time. For
much of the Midwest, that optimum planting window is from about
mid-April through early May, with increasingly large yield penalties
"At this juncture, the potential for U.S. average corn and
soybean yields near trend value in 2013 are still in place," Good
concluded. "Still, the likelihood of some planting delays, along
with lingering drought conditions in western areas, provides the
basis for considerable yield uncertainty for corn in 2013. If these
conditions persist, new-crop corn futures could regain some of the
losses occurred since late 2012. For those with crop revenue
insurance, pricing opportunities for both corn and soybeans should
probably be judged in context of the spring crop insurance prices,
with prices well above those levels representing sales
opportunities," he said.
[Text from file received from the
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and