Delegates to the 92nd annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation, meeting in Atlanta, heard the chairman of the Agriculture Department's World Agricultural Outlook Board Gerald Bange say that as much as 10 million more acres could move into crop production this year. His reasoning is that corn, soybean, wheat and cotton prices are at the highest levels in years, which implies there will be more crop acreage in 2011. However, it won't be until June until we know for sure.
Strong prices and strong demand for cotton should mean more acreage will be devoted to that crop. But according to Bange, it is still uncertain what kind of increases are seen for corn and soybeans. High prices and very low stocks for corn should mean more corn acreage in 2011, but Bange said indicators right now are actually pointing to more soybean acres.
Bange says as farmers look to the future, they may be looking to soybeans and that intrigues the WAO a little bit because most are of the opinion that corn would be the favored crop as we move into 2011. The economist added that one factor driving greater prospects for soybeans may be high fertilizer costs associated with corn production as well as greater weather risks for corn production.