U.S. farmers surprisingly boost corn plantings; soy acreage at record, stocks top expectations

WASHINGTON, June 30 (Reuters) – U.S. farmers seeded more corn and soybeans than they had initially planned to during the spring, taking advantage of a rallying futures market and good weather to plant as much acreage as possible, U.S. government data showed on Thursday.

The report is considered bearish for corn and the Chicago December corn contract is trading down about 2.87 percent about a half hour after the report release. However, even though the soybean numbers were not particularly bullish, the Chicago new crop November soybean contract was trading up 3.17 percent. That helped canola to also rise.

Market wrap: Canola futures ride soybeans higher following surprising USDA report

The robust plantings will likely add to an ample supply base of both commodities that the U.S. Department of Agriculture said was bigger than traders expected. The government’s quarterly stocks report showed that corn stocks as of June 1 were the biggest since 1988 while soybean stocks for that period were the third-biggest ever.

The acreage report showed that soybean plantings came in at a record 83.688 million acres, up from the government’s March forecast of 82.236 million acres. Analysts, on average, had been expecting soybean plantings of 83.834 million acres.

“The bean number came pretty close to the average trade guess, but people out there had a ‘fear number’ that was 2.5 to 3 million acres higher than the average trade guess,” said Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading. “When that fear wasn’t realized, they considered it bullish.”

Corn plantings were 94.148 million acres, topping the high end of estimates from analysts who on average expected corn acreage to fall from the government’s March forecast of 93.601 million.

Soybean stocks as of June 1 were 870 million bushels. Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted soy stocks would come in at 829 million bu. A year earlier, soybean stocks stood at 627 million bu.

Corn stocks came in at 4.722 billion bu., up from 4.453 billion a year ago. Analysts, on average had been expecting corn stocks of 4.528 billion bu.

Both the corn and soybean stocks figures topped the high end of analysts’ forecasts.

Wheat acreage also was bigger than expected, with the government reporting increases in both winter wheat and spring wheat plantings compared to its March estimates.

USDA said all-wheat plantings in the United States totaled 50.816 million acres, compared to forecasts for 49.869 million. In March, USDA had pegged wheat seeding at 49.559 million acres.

Wheat stocks as of June 1 stood at 981 million bushels, up from 752 million bu. a year earlier. Analysts, on average, had been expecting wheat stocks of 982 million bu.

USDA est June 1 Avg analysts* USDA est March 1 Final 2015
Corn 94.148 92.896 93.601 87.999
Soybeans 83.688 83.834 82.236 82.650
All wheat 50.816 49.869 49.599 54.644
Winter wheat 36.538 36.384 36.216 39.461
Spring wheat 12.133 11.714 11.348 13.247
Durum 2.145 1.975 1.995 1.936
  • Reuters poll

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