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US Acres Planted to Soybeans Tumble, Raising Supply Concerns

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US acres planted to soybeans tumbled compared with the USDA’s March Prospective Plantings report, after the season got off to a slow start due to cold, wet weather in the northern Plains. 

The 2.7-million-soybean-acreage decline, reported in the USDA June Acreage report, places additional pressure for ideal weather in July and August in order to keep supplies from falling sharply, particularly as the Corn Belt continues to labor under hot and dry conditions, as Gro wrote about here

Gro’s Climate Risk Navigator for Agriculture shows that soil moisture levels, weighted for areas planted to soybeans, are at some of the lowest levels in more than a decade. View the Climate Risk Navigator display here

Farmers planted 88.3 million acres of soybeans. While that is an increase from last year, and is the highest number of soybean acres since 2018, it represents a drop of 2.7 million acres, or nearly 3%, from the March planting intentions report. The decrease in acreage comes despite sky-high fertilizer prices, which have encouraged many farmers to steer clear of corn in favor of less-fertilizer-intensive crops, such as soybeans. Fertilizer prices have about doubled in the past year and are up threefold over two years. 

Also favoring US soybeans have been smaller crops in Brazil and Argentina, due to La Niña-induced drought, and enthusiasm over rapidly growing investments into renewable diesel, which uses mainly soybean oil as feedstock. 

Farmers planted 89.9 million acres of corn, the USDA survey showed. While that is down nearly 4% from last year, it represents a small increase from the March Prospective Plantings number. 

The US corn crop also is facing risks, as it heads into the critical pollination phase. Soil moisture levels for acres planted to corn are close to decade lows, as shown by Gro’s Climate Risk Navigator for Agriculture

Soybean stocks jumped 26% as of June 1 from a year earlier — still the second-lowest stocks level as of that date in five years — as shown by the USDA’s Quarterly Stocks report. Corn stocks, although up nearly 6% from a year earlier, were at the second-lowest level in eight years. 

After an initial post-report bounce, both corn and soybean prices finished Thursday lower amid a broader energy and equity markets sell-off. November soybeans closed down 1.4%, while December corn ended 5.2% lower. 

Spring wheat acreage is the lowest since 2017. Planting pace was among the slowest on record as cold soil temperatures and excessive moisture in the northern Plains kept many farmers out of their fields. 

Because of the early season planting delays, the USDA said it will collect additional survey data in July for North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota for any updates on acreage. The USDA last did a July update to its Acreage Report in 2020, another year that got off to a slow start due to overly wet conditions. 

What to Watch Next: 

Monitor the progress of US crops using Gro’s Climate Risk Navigator for Agriculture, with displays for corn and soybeans.

Follow Gro’s machine learning-based Yield Forecast Models for corn and soybeans. The models, which update daily, continuously forecast final yields using spatially explicit weather, vegetative health, and soil data to monitor environmental and crop conditions during the growing season. 


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