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Summary

  • Favorable profit margins for soybeans have farmers increasing soybean planted acreage in 2014 by five million acres.
  • Estimated corn planted acreage was the lowest since 2010.
  • In the past two months, corn prices have made a comeback due to domestic ethanol demand, global feed demand, and tensions in Eastern Europe.

Favorable profit margins for soybeans have farmers increasing soybean planted acreage in 2014 by five million acres. Estimated corn planted acreage was the lowest since 2010. Combined corn and soybean acreage was 173.2 million, an increase of 1.3 million acres from the final 2013 total.

Corn stock estimates as of March 1st were in line with analysts' expectations and remained elevated due to the largest crop on record in 2013. As expected, soybean stocks were depleted due to higher than expected imports over the last four months.

Prospective Plantings Report

Crop

2014 Planted Acres (Million Acres)

2014 Estimated Range for Planted Acres (Million Acres)

Average Estimate for 2014 Planted Acres (Million Acres)

Corn

91.7

90.5-94.5

93.0

Soybeans

81.5

78.5-83.6

81.1

Wheat

55.8

54.8-57.5

56.1

Source: USDA

Corn planted acres for 2014 were estimated at 91.7 million acres, down 4% from last year. Weakened domestic demand and stronger profit margins for soybeans has decreased corn acres. A soybean to corn price ration of roughly 2.5 to 1 encourages farmers to plant soybeans. The current soybean to corn price ratio is 2.4.

Soybean planted acres were estimated at 81.5 million, a 6% increase from last year's 76.5 million acres. Soybean planted acreage was increased or stayed the same in all states except Oklahoma and Missouri.

All wheat planted acres were estimated at 55.8 million acres, compared to 56.2 million last year. Of the total wheat acres planted 42.0 million were expected to be winter wheat, spring wheat at 12.0 million acres, and durum at 1.80 million acres.

Quarterly Stocks

Crop

March 1 USDA Estimate (Billion Bushels)

Analysts Estimated Range (Billion Bushels)

Average Analyst Estimate (Billion Bushels)

Corn

7.01

6.82-7.54

7.10

Soybeans

0.99

0.92-1.09

0.99

Wheat

1.06

0.98-1.20

1.05

Source: USDA

USDA reported 7.01 billion bushels of corn on hand as of March 1, 2014, a 30% increase from the same time last year. Of the total stocks, 3.86 billion bushels were stored on farms, up 45% from 2013. Off-farm stocks were at 3.15 billion bushels, up 15% from a year earlier. December 2013 to February 2014 disappearance was 3.45 billion bushels, compared to 2.63 billion bushels a year ago.

Soybean stocks decreased 1% compared to last year with 992 million bushels as of March 1, 2014. Stocks stored on farms totaled 382 million bushels, a 16% decrease from last year. Off-farm stocks were 610 million bushels, up 13% from last March. December 2013 to February 2014 disappearance was 1.16 billion bushels, an increase of 20% from last year.

Wheat stocks were down 15% from last year with 1.06 billion bushels being reported on March 1, 2014. On-farm stocks were estimated at 238 million bushels, up slightly from last March. Off-farm stocks were down 18% from last year, coming in at 818 million bushels. The December 2013 to February 2014 disappearance was 419 million bushels, down 4% from March of 2013.

Outlook

In the past two months, corn prices have made a comeback due to domestic ethanol demand, global feed demand, and tensions in Eastern Europe. Soybeans have also seen price support as global demand has depleted stocks and will probably force the U.S. to ration in the second half of the year. Crucial decisions will be made in the next month as operators will be keeping a close eye on profit margins for both soybeans and corn.

Source: Increased Soybean Acreage At Corn's Expense