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U.S. soybean acres could outnumber corn acres this year
U.S. soybean acres could outnumber corn acres this year

Commodity prices and weather patterns are factoring into farmers’ decisions

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

American farmers could plant more soybean acres than corn acres in 2018, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Farmers could plant 90.69 million acres of soybeans this growing season, compared to 90.12 million acres of corn, Bloomberg says. The prediction is based on a poll with 21 trading firms and analysts.

If those numbers hold true, it would be the first time since 1983 that American soybeans acres outnumbered corn acres.

One of the reasons for the shift in acreage is commodity prices.

March and May 2018 soybean futures are forecasted at US$10.32 and US$10.43 per bushel, respectively, according to CME Group. Corn futures for March are forecasted at US$3.67/bu, while May corn futures are projected at US$3.75/bu.

Corn prices don’t break the US$4.00 per bushel mark until March 2019, the CME Group says.

Corn “doesn’t pay the bills,” Julie Burgod, a cash cropper from Ipswich, S.D., told Bloomberg yesterday.

Burgod grows 4,500 acres of cash crops and plans to reduce her corn acreage by about 50 percent.

“Soybeans are king, and corn is queen,” she told Bloomberg.

Weather is also convincing farmers to replace corn acres with other crops.

Parts of the Corn Belt, including Illinois, Iowa and Missouri, are already experiencing drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Drought is also impacting about 65 per cent of North Dakota, according to the drought map, forcing some producers to abandon corn altogether and consider different crops.

“I watch the weather and I watch market prices, but weather is the key,” Jim Diepolder, a producer near Willow City, N.D., told Bloomberg. “The drier it gets, the more spring wheat will get planted because it’s a good drought crop. You have to have something to sell at harvest.”