Corn growers intend to plant 4% fewer acres in 2014 than last year, according to Monday’s USDA Prospective Plantings report. If realized, that would be the least planted corn acreage since 2010.

“At 91.7 million, it was over 1 million bu. lower than the average pre-report estimate of 92.75 million bu.,” say Steve Meyer and Len Steiner in their Tuesday Daily Livestock Report. “Assuming trend yield of around 163 bu./acre and normal harvesting percentage, that figure would put this year’s corn crop near 13.65 billion bu., down about 275 million bu. from last year but still the second largest corn crop ever.”

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The quarterly Grain Stocks report issued the same day also supported corn prices. That report pegs March 1 corn stocks at 7.01 billion bu. Although that is 30% more than the same time last year, it was about 93 million bu. less than average pre-report estimates.

“The bullish news carried corn futures prices to their highest level since last fall before harvest began,” Steiner and Meyer explain.

Week-to-week, Corn futures closed an average of 15¢ higher through the front six contracts (9¢ to 19¢ higher).

As anticipated, intentions call for supplanting corn acres with soybeans and their promise of higher returns.  

Producers intend to plant an estimated 81.5 million acres of soybeans in 2014, up 6% from last year and an all-time record high, according to the Prospective Plantings report. If realized, soybeans will surpass the previous record of 77.5 million acres planted in the United States set in 2009.
 

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