Information Possibly Outdated
The information presented on this page was originally released on April 3, 2009. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Soybean acres expand, but less than expected
MISSISSIPPI STATE – High market prices and low input costs continue to make soybeans an attractive crop that will gain acres in 2009, but apparently not as many as originally predicted.
John Anderson, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said market watchers have been eager to see soybean acreage predictions. He said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Prospective Plantings Report released March 31 was greeted “with a lot of anticipation in the marketplace.”
This report summarizes the number of acres producers intend to plant in various crops.
Soybeans are the big winner with an expected acreage increase in Mississippi of 5 percent to 2.1 million acres. Cotton continues to lose ground, with an expected 18 percent decrease to 300,000 acres. Corn is projected to lose as well, dropping 12 percent to 630,000 acres.
Rice is forecast to gain 4 percent to 240,000 acres, and hay production is expected to increase 11 percent. Forecasters expect wheat to drop 56 percent to 230,000 acres and peanuts to lose 9 percent to 20,000 acres.
“This is a survey-based instrument that reflects what people think they’re going to plant,” Anderson said. “These numbers are a long way from being set in stone, and we’ll see some changes between now and when seed actually goes into the ground.”
Extension agricultural economist John Michael Riley said with all the changes anticipated in the number of planted acres, it appears that some farmland actually may go out of production.
“There is some land unaccounted for from our major crops,” Riley said. “We won’t know until April or May whether that stays out of production or gets planted.”
Soybean acres are expected to increase on the basis of good market prices and low input costs. Corn is projected to continue its acreage decline because of high fertilizer prices. Cotton acreage continues its slump, mostly because of low market prices.
The only real surprise in the numbers was the national soybean acreage increase that was well below original expectations, Riley said. That change from what was anticipated caused a flurry of activity in the market.
“We’re seeing that soybean number really have an impact on the market, and not just with soybeans,” Riley said. “Right after these figures were released, soybeans were up 50 cents, corn was up 18 cents and wheat was up 20 cents.”
Anderson said despite the expected increase in soybean acres, corn has a more positive long-term outlook. The national soybean per-acre yield in 2008 fell short of recent averages. With 2009 acreage up a bit from last year, a return to average yields would result in a fairly modest increase in production.
“We’ve got the potential to see soybean stocks increase 70 percent to 75 percent in the next marketing year, and that will tend to push price down,” Anderson said.
Because of renewable fuel standard mandates, economists predict a substantial increase in the amount of corn used for ethanol production, yet national corn acres are expected to be down again in 2009.
“If you look at the potential production from the acres compared to the use that we expect, it is very likely that we’ll see a modest decline in the amount of corn carryover in the next marketing year,” Anderson said. “These numbers support corn more than soybeans.”
Mississippi 2009 Row-Crop Planting Intentions
Soybeans……2.1 million acres, up 5 percent
Corn………..630,000 acres, down 12 percent
Cotton………300,000 acres, down 18 percent
Rice……….....240,000 acres, up 4 percent
Wheat………. 230,000 acres, down 56 percent