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Cotton, Soybeans Are Up, Corn Tumbles, Seed Shortage Moves Rice Toward Medium Grain

By Mary Hightower

The June “Acreage” report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed cotton with its highest acreage in more than a decade and soybeans on the rise, while corn tumbled and rice shuffled between long and medium grain acres in Arkansas.

Friday’s report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, proved a hot property, with users crashing the servers shortly after its 11 a.m. CDT release.

“June Acreage is more or less a reality check for the March ‘Planting Intentions’ report,” said Scott Stiles, extension agricultural economics program associate for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Principle crops planted, acreage down 0.8 percent to 7.156 million acres in Arkansas; total planted in US is 315 billion acres, down 1.4 percent from previous year, NASS said.

CORN

Corn acres dropped 27.1 percent to 620,000 acres, unchanged from the March planting intentions.

“Corn prices have been on downward slide for much of the past year,” Stiles said. “Futures prices for new crop corn were about 20 percent below the previous year when NASS surveyed growers in early March.” 

Jason Kelley, extension wheat and feed grains agronomist for the Division of Agriculture, said he wasn’t surprised by the Acreage report.

“Lower grain prices, combined with less-than-ideal planting conditions for some led to the drop in Arkansas acres,” he said. “The spring was too wet, especially in the southern half of the state.

“Northeast Arkansas overall had better planting conditions than the rest of the state, with dry weather in late March and early April,” Kelley said.

COTTON

Cotton acres were up 31.4 percent to 670,000 acres in Arkansas, while total U.S. acres were also up 14.1 percent.

The huge surprise in today’s report was NASS’ cotton acreage number,” Stiles said. “In March, growers indicated they would increase acres by a modest 30,000 acres to 540,000.”

However, “in June, acres are expected to be 670,000; up 160,000 from last year,” Stiles said. “This would be the highest cotton acreage for the state since 2011, which saw 680,000 acres that year. 

He said that while there were solid indications we have 610,000 to 620,000 acres in the state, “the 670,000-acre print is surprisingly high.

“Cotton prices started a nosedive in early April, losing about 13 cents by mid-June. Prices fell from the low 80 cent level to 70 cents,” Stiles said, “But, cotton yields in the state continue to climb and growers exited 2023 with record yields.  And the crop insurance price of 82 cents this year may have played a role in adding acres.  There was some shifting from corn to cotton going on as well.” 

“In terms of cotton we're in good shape,” said Zachary Treadway, extension cotton and peanut agronomist for the Division of Agriculture. “Some guys are in the first week of bloom and some are into the second week of bloom, but what’s really important right now is water.

“It’s getting hot and dry and want to keep putting moisture on the crop so we’re not stressing it,” he said.

PEANUTS

“Peanuts remained the same, which is what I was expecting based on what growers were saying,” Treadway said.

NASS pinned peanuts at 35,000 acres, same as in 2023.

“The peanut crop is in pretty good shape,” Treadway said. “We had some growers that had to go back and replant after extensive rainfall. Some growers are reporting their crop pegging.”

In pegging, the embryonic peanut grows downward into the soil.

RICE

Overall, total rice acres were down 15,000 acres from last year in NASS' findings to 1.42 million acres, compared to just under 1.44 million acres in 2023.

Stiles said he was a little surprised by the 40,000-acre decline in long-grain rice acres from March.

“The June survey results are a little puzzling considering the planting progress this year and the rice market rally that kicked off in early April,” he said.

“Generally, in years when planting progresses at a faster than average pace, we tend to see a higher acreage number in June,” Stiles said. “USDA did increase medium grain acres by 10,000 above their March number.”

Jarrod Hardke, rice extension agronomist for the Division of Agriculture, said he too was a little  surprised by the dip, but said it was within his range of expectations between 1.4 million and 1.5 million acres.

A shortage of long-grain seed shortage played into the shuffling of acres over to medium grain, he said.

“One of the hardest things to gauge every year is the expected long and medium grain acreage, and then with a seed shortage out of the gate, that changed the mix. And it got very, very weird,” he said.

There were also some missed planting opportunities during good weather windows as growers unable to get the seed they wanted, scrambled to find varieties to plant.

SOYBEANS

NASS lowered Arkansas soybean acres by 50,000 from the March intentions to 3.05 million, however that was still up 2.3 percent from 2023. U.S. total was up 3 percent to 86.1 billion acres.

“This is still an increase of 2 percent or 70,000 acres over last year,” Stiles said. “Considering the sharp drop in corn acres, some resulting increase in soybeans is not a surprise. 

“Similar to corn, soybean prices have trended lower over the past year as well,” he said. “As planting kicked off in the state, soybean prices were about 13 to 14 percent lower compared to the prior year.  November ‘24 soybeans settled at $11.04 today.  A year ago the November contract traded at $12.66, right ahead of a summer rally that carried prices above $14 last July. A very bearish feel to the soybean and corn markets this year.”

Jeremy Ross, extension soybean agronomist, said “the estimates were in line with what I was expecting. We had another really good start with early plantings similar to the 2023 season. 

“This year’s soybean crop ranges from early planted fields beginning to fill pods to fields that were planted within the last two days,” he said on Sunday. “With the drop in soybean prices compared to last year, I’m getting a few more calls with farmers and consultants asking about different inputs preserving or increasing soybean yields.”

WINTER WHEAT

Winter wheat acres declined 39.1 percent from 2024 to 140,000 acres. That followed the larger national trend with U.S. winter wheat falling down 7.9 percent to 33.8 billion acres.

Kelley said the decline was likely due to “lower prices for grain and lower relative profitability compared to other crops.”

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on X and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uada.edu. Follow on X at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on X at @AgInArk. 

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices.

Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.  

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Source : uada.edu

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