Spring Planting Outlook: USDA economist thinks farmers will favor soybean acreage over corn in 2024

As winter unfolds, producers across Rural America are already developing planting strategies for their crop choices in the upcoming year.

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Chief Economist Seth Meyer provided some of the department’s preliminary insights on spring planting, hinting at a potential battle for acreage during the impending season.

According to USDA data, corn growers expanded acreage by 6.3 million acres in 2023 to reach 94 million total acres, while soybeans saw a reduction in acreage to just under 4 million acres.

However, in the coming year, Meyer anticipates a reverse in this trend. He believes growers will shift to favor soybeans over corn, citing a strong soybean-to-corn price ratio.

He suggests a likely rebound in bean acres and a possible reduction in the exceptionally high level of corn acres. On the other hand, Meyer emphasizes the inherent unpredictability of factors that could influence planting decisions between the current period and the actual planting season.

For the second year in a row, transportation along the Mississippi River was impacted by drought. Export delays along with increased prices are impacting the competitiveness of U.S. corn in the world market, with buyers moving toward Brazilian crops.

Drought conditions this winter are a growing concern for the agricultural industry. However, the year’s winter wheat crop is an exception, according to USDA experts.

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