Market watches soy-corn switch

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Prospective Plantings report comes out March 31 so watch for our same day coverage at and our Twitter feeds.

The market expects more soybeans and less corn this year. The question is the magnitude of the switch.

About a month ago, the USDA forecast a record soybean crop of 79.5 million acres, up from the previous record of 77.45 million.

But soybeans have rallied since then, propelled by the prospect of tight U.S. stocks at the start of the new crop year and weather problems in South America.

Agriculture magazine Farm Futures surveyed readers this week and posted a forecast of 82.9 million acres. Agricultural advisory service Doane has its own poll that put soybeans at 83.6 million acres.

These big numbers have not yet hammered the new crop November soybeans futures contract lower.

Through most of this month, the November contract has traded in a 20-cent range of about $11.70 to $11.90 per bushel through March.

Looking at corn, the USDA forecast in February was for 92 million acres, down from 95.4 million seeded in 2013.

Farm Futures sees 92.06 million acres and Doane forecasts 90.9 million.

As for wheat, the market has been focused on the declining conditions of the U.S. winter wheat crop.

This week, the ratings in Texas and Oklahoma again fell significantly while Kansas dipped only a little. The forecast through to early April was for more dry weather.

Farm Futures sees 12.8 million acres of spring wheat and Doane put the number at 13.5 million. The latter would be more than a million acres higher than last year’s 11.6 million.

Farm Futures put durum area at 1.8 million acres and Doane put it at two million acres. Last year’s seeded area was 1.5 million.

If the USDA survey departs a lot from these forecasts, then watch for strong price movement on March 31.

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