Market News & Headlines >> Corn Acreage Shocker

Wednesday’s USDA Prospective Plantings report held a bearish surprise for the corn market in the form of planting intentions of 93.601 million acres, well above the high end of trade expectations and up more than 5.6 million acres, or 6.4%, from last year. 

Trade estimates of corn planting intentions averaged 89.972 million acres in a range from 89.000-91.000 million, according to a Reuters News Service survey. USDA’s February Outlook Forum estimate of planting intentions was 90.000 million acres. At 93.6 million acres, U.S. corn plantings would be the largest since 2013, when U.S. producers planted 96.365 million acres of corn. 

Planting intentions were up in virtually all significant corn producing states, with the biggest percentage increases coming in southern states.  Wet conditions and flooding in the Delta region, though, make it doubtful that the planned acreage increases in that region will actually occur. 

Where the report was bearish for corn, it was bullish for wheat with USDA pegging all-wheat planting intentions at 49.559 million acres, below trade estimates averaging 51.702 million acres in a range from 50.669-54.845 million. The all-wheat intentions are down 5.085 million acres or 9.3% from last year. If actual U.S. wheat seedings wind up at that level, they would be the lowest since 1970, when U.S. producers seeded only 48.739 million acres with wheat. 

Planting intentions were somewhat friendly for the soybean market as well, coming in at 82.236 million acres, down slightly from last year’s planted acreage of 82.650 million and toward the low end of trade expectations, which averaged 83.057 million in a range from 81,600-84.200 million. The intentions were also slightly under USDA’s February outlook estimate of 82.500 million acres