The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its outlook for the coming year on Friday morning, showing a drastic swing for U.S. farmers away from planting soybeans towards corn. Many Midwestern farmers make an annual decision between the two crops, gauging weather, soil conditions, and profitability to help determine their mix of acreage.
This year, farmers may plant 4 million fewer acres of soybeans, while adding nearly 3 million acres of corn. The primary reason for the switch has been the ongoing trade dispute with China, which caused that nation to nearly cease buying U.S. soybeans during the last year, compared to normal years where China buys one third of U.S. beans.
Even if this year’s corn crop is bigger, the USDA is projecting that corn demand will rise faster. In its newest estimates, the USDA expects stockpiles of corn, wheat, and soybeans all to be smaller next year, which could help prices to rebound.
As of midday Friday, March corn was worth $3.76 per bushel, while soybeans and Kansas City wheat traded for $9.13 and $4.60, respectively.