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2013 US Crop Acreages Could Drop.

Corn and Soybean Planted Acres Could Drop in 2013.
USDA Projections and Yields.

US farm officials broke with other forecasters in predicting a drop in domestic corn sowings, and soybean plantings too, forecasting instead a swing to sorghum and wheat.
The US Department of Agriculture, in long-term crop forecasts, estimated that overall crop sowings would remain high this year, at 254.4m acres, the second-largest area since 2000, after last year's area.
"In the short-term the US crops sector responds to continuing high prices for most crops in 2012-13," the USDA said.
Nonetheless, it estimated US soybean sowings at 76.0m acres, down 1.2m acres year on year, and below the 78.8m acres forecast by Informa Economics.
"Soybean plantings decline from highs levels of 2012… as prices and producer returns fall," the USDA said.
Corn vs wheat
Corn sowings were pegged at 96.0m acres, down 1.2m acres on last year's area, and below forecasts from external commentators.
USDA initial forecast for US corn 2013-14 and (year-on-year change)
Sown acres: 96.0m acres, (-1.2%)
Yield: 163.5 bushels per acre, (+32%)
Harvest: 14.435bn bushels, (+35%)
Stocks: 2.067bn bushels, (+227%)
Comparison of USDA baseline forecast with February Wasde data
Informa has put plantings at 99.3m acres, the highest since 1936, while Lanworth estimates sowings at 97.5m acres.
The Congressional Budget Office last week forecast US seedings of 97.0m acres.
The USDA saw area shifting to crops such as sorghum, for which seedings were seen rising 800,000 acres to 7.0m acres, and wheat, for which area was pegged rising to a four-year high of 57.5m acres.
With winter seedings already officially pegged at 41.8m acres, this implies total spring plantings of 15.7m acres.
Yield tweaking
The US corn crop looks set to reach a record despite the fall in plantings, with the USDA pegging the crop at 14.435bn bushels, up 35% from last year's drought-hurt harvest.
USDA initial forecast for US soybeans 2013-14 and (year-on-year change)
Sown acres: 76.0m acres, (-0.1%)
Yield: 44.4 bushels per acre, (+12.1%)
Harvest: 3.335bn bushels, (+10.6%)
Stocks: 2.067bn bushels, (+48%)
Comparison of USDA baseline forecast with February Wasde data
The forecast assumes a yield of 163.5 bushels per acre, 2.0 bushels per acre more than the Congressional Budget Office factored in, besides the 155.6 bushels per acre expected by Lanworth.
Nonetheless, the yield was below the 166.0 bushels per acre the USDA assumed a year ago for 2013-14, and indeed the 164.0 bushels per acre then expected for 2012, which proved far higher than the final, drought-hurt result of 123.4 bushels per acre.
The latest yield estimates reflect the development of "weather-adjusted" models, following "below-trend yield outcomes for the last two-to-three years", said the USDA, which has been criticised by many analysts for ignoring poor years in its projections.
Preliminary data
Monday's estimates, nonetheless, given only a preliminary snapshot of the USDA's thinking, and are based largely on analysis undertaken in November.
The USDA will unveil updated forecasts next week at its annual outlook conference.

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