The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says farmers are expected to plant a record number of soybean acres this year, but fewer acres of corn.
The USDA surveyed 84,000 farmers, who indicated plans to plant a record high 84.6 million acres of soybeans, up 1 percent from last year. Corn acreage will fall 2 percent to 89.2 million acres, the fewest since 2010.
“This shift is a result of the anticipation of stronger financial returns for soybeans,” said Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt. “Prices for all crops are depressed at the current time, and margins are expected to be tight. However, soybean margins have offered the best alternative of the three major crops.”
Soybeans also have a lower input cost than corn, by about half. Increased soybean imports to China have boosted market strength in the U.S. in recent years.
Corn can still be profitable for farmers who own their own land and have low overhead costs, particularly in Iowa and Illinois. But, outside of those states, many farmers are looking to make more money on soybeans.
In its quarterly Grain Stocks report, the USDA said soybean stocks totaled 1.33 billion bushels on March 1, up 34 percent from the same time last year.
The amount of corn in storage totaled 7.74 billion bushels, up 11 percent from 2014.
All wheat stocks totaled 1.12 billion bushels, up 6 percent from last year.
USDA: Record soybean acres expected
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