Farm Futures survey sees record U.S. soybean acres in 2014

CHICAGO (Reuters) — U.S. farmers plan to sow a record 82.93 million acres to soybeans this spring, up 8.4 percent from 2013, while corn seedings will drop 3.5 percent to 92.06 million acres, according to a survey released Monday by Farm Futures magazine.

After planting an increasing number of fields with successive corn crops in the past few years, farmers appear ready to revert to a more traditional corn-soy crop rotation, Farm Futures said.

“All key states showed increases (in soybeans), with some of the biggest shifts possible in Illinois, where farmers pushed corn-on-corn in recent years to capture profits from the ethanol boom,” the magazine said.

A 10 percent rally in spot soybean futures on the Chicago Board of Trade in February may have made soybeans more attractive, although the new-crop November contract posted a lesser gain of about 6 percent.

“While the ratio of new-crop soybean to corn prices actually pulled back a little over the winter, the strong rally in old-crop soybeans appeared to convince many farmers to take the plunge and plant more soybeans,” said Bryce Knorr, Farm Futures senior grain market analyst.

The magazine’s survey of 1,775 farmers projected spring wheat seedings at 12.3 million acres and seedings of durum wheat, used for pasta, at 1.8 million acres.

Farm Futures projected total U.S. wheat plantings for harvest in 2014 at 56.05 million acres, including 42 million acres of winter wheat that were seeded last autumn.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said U.S. farmers planted 56.2 million acres of wheat for 2013, including 43.1 million acres of winter wheat, 11.6 million acres of spring wheat and 1.5 million acres of durum wheat.

The USDA is scheduled to release its 2014 planting intentions report on March 31, based on a survey of more than 80,000 producers.