Survey Puts Corn Plantings 2% Above Estimate

Bryce Knorr says year-end rallies may have spurred folks to return to traditional crop rotations.

Published on: Jan 12, 2011

A global boom in commodities gives farmers plenty of choices as they finalize planting choices for 2011. But the latest Farm Futures survey shows long-term agronomic concerns may outweigh "the invisible hand of the market" when all is said and done this spring.

Farm Futures' second producer survey put 2011 corn plantings at 89.93 million acres, up almost 2% from USDA's last projection of 2010 acreage. But the third and latest Farm Futures survey places estimates for 2011 only slightly higher than the magazine's first survey in July, which came in at 89.5 million, despite the rally of more than $1.50 a bushel.

The magazine's survey puts 2011 soybean plantings at 77.42 million acres. That would be down a little compared to USDA's current estimate of 2010 acreage, though the survey also showed farmers planted fewer soybean acres last year than previous estimates.

The survey revealed farmers planted more winter wheat last fall than originally estimated, part of a big potential rebound for the crop. Farm Futures puts winter wheat seedings at 42.37 million acres, up 13.5% from 2010 and about 600,000 more than its first survey last summer.

Farm Futures surveyed more than 1,000 growers by e-mail from Dec. 1 to Dec. 29.

The magazine also surveyed growers about 2010 corn and soybean production. Based on that data, the magazine puts 2010 corn production at 12.406 billion bushels on yields of 153.2 bpa, down from USDA's last estimate of 12.540 billion.

For soybeans, Farm Futures estimates production at 3.392 billion bushels on yields of 44.6 bpa, up 17 million bushels from USDA's last estimate.

"With net farm income up some 30%, farmers are once again very optimistic as 2011 begins," notes Farm Futures Senior Editor Bryce Knorr, who conducted the survey. "Prices for major crops are trading at the highest levels since the run to record values in 2008, enjoying big year-end rallies. As a result, farmers appear to be reluctant to make major adjustments to their well-established cropping patterns. Instead, they stand ready to use this unique window of profitability to return their fields to historic rotations."