Corn acres to overtake soybeans

By | April 25, 2007
According to the latest prospective planting statistics released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) in March, soybean acreage is expected to be down 11 percent from last year.

The report indicated that producers intend to plant 67.1 million acres of soybeans in 2007. If realized, this would be the lowest planted area since 1996. Large decreases in soybean acreage are expected across the Corn Belt, with Illinois predicted to experience the biggest decrease at 1.4 million acres from 2006.

In contrast, corn growers intend to plant 90.5 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2007, up 15 percent from 2006 and 11 percent higher than 2005.

Brad Anderson, senior vice president of Informa Economics Inc., which conducted the survey, said returns for corn are currently very attractive relative to other crops such as soybeans. "We could be producing a lot more biodiesel than we are right now if the economics were there, but the market has bid up the price of soybean oil such that the returns to biodiesel production are not very attractive," Anderson said. "I think that's going to be an ongoing issue for the industry."

If the reliance on corn continues to dominate the soybean market like it has, Anderson added that the world may have to look to neighboring countries to fill the void. "To satisfy increases in world demand for soybeans, it's probably going to have to be taken care of by South America because I don't know if you can assume that the U.S. is going to be a growing soybean producer," Anderson said.

For more information on the NASS report, go to
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