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USDA releases ho-hum planting intentions report

By Staff | Apr 3, 2009

The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report on intended acres was greeted this week with a ho-hum response from growers and marketers alike.

The USDA report, taken from a survey of 2,000 Iowa growers, showed that producers are planning to plant 100,000 fewer acres in corn, and 100,000 more acres in soybeans.

The report included the carryover stocks for both corn and soybeans, numbers which also didn’t surprise anyone in the grain producing industry.

But knowing that almost anything can change planting plans grain brokers and growers are taking a “wait and see” approach before making marketing decisions.

John Sanow, a market analyst for DTN, told Farm News that the report was mildly surprising in that he was expecting the nationwide intended soybean acres, estimated by the USDA at 76 million acres, would have been three million acres higher.

He said the cutback may have occurred because the deflated commodity price for soybeans are leading Southern growers to double-crop fewer soybeans acres this year. Other producers, Sanow said, are taking sub-par acres out of bean production.

Again, other factors could change, Sanow pointed out. The flooded wheat acres in the upper Midwest this spring may lead to more late-planted soybeans.

Jay Lynch, a Humboldt area grain producer, said the report held few surprises. “I know most guys were not planning to to change their 50-50 rotations.”

Lynch, who farms 600 acres, half in corn and half in soybeans, sits on the Iowa Corn Growers Association board of directors.

“Input (costs) are a concern,” Lynch said, “but I don’t think its enough to make us rearrange anything.

“The price of beans is in the same slide as corn, so it’s not worth planting more.”

The USDA’s report said the nationwide corn carry stocks tallies 6.9 billion bushels, up eight percent from last March, while soybeans stocks number 1.3 billion bushels, down nine percent from March 2008.

Lynch said the corn report “tells our (ICGA) board that we will continue to have enough corn to feed the world and make fuel. We just need to continue with what we are doing, pushing for good policies that won’t harm the farm industry.”

DTN’s Sanow said the stocks report “was a good reminder for where we are.”

He said the bean report shows “we are really short on supply. The bean market is inverted, showing that buyers are willing to pay more now than later.”

Concerning the corn stocks, he said the market remains unaffected by the report.

Even if planting numbers prove to cut more corn acres, marketers will still keep in mind the lessons learned in 2008, when corn hybrids performed well during an adverse growing season.

Contact Larry Kershner by e-mail at kersh@farm-news.com or (515)573-2141, ext 453.

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