USDA sees lower U.S. wheat, corn acres in 2017


Lower wheat and corn area but higher soybean area in 2017 was projected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Nov. 29 in selected early-release tables of its upcoming USDA Agricultural Projections to 2026 report. Similar trends have been forecast by several private market analysts recently.

The USDA sees all wheat planted area bottoming at 48.5 million acres next year, down 3% from 50.2 million acres in 2016 and, if realized, the lowest in records going back to 1919. Harvested area was forecast at 41.1 million acres, down 6% from 43.9 million acres this year. All wheat area was projected to rebound slightly in 2018 and then hold steady at 49.5 million planted acres and 42 million harvested acres from 2019 through 2026.

After planted area of 94.5 million acres in 2016, corn area was forecast to drop 5% to 90 million acres in 2017 and then slowly but consistently decline to 86 million acres in 2026. Harvested area was forecast at 82.3 million acres next year, down 5% from 86.8 million acres this year, with a gradual slide to 78.3 million acres in 2026.

Soybean planted area was forecast to increase 2% to a record 84.6 million acres in 2017, decline slightly the following three years, then increase to 84.1 million acres in 2021 and hold at that level through 2026. Harvested area is the same as planted area for soybeans in the USDA’s long-term projections.

Wheat exports were forecast flat with 2016-17 at 975 million bushels through 2019-20, then 10 million bushels in most years to 1.035 billion bus by 2026-27.

Corn exports were projected at 1.950 billion bushels in 2017-18, down 12% from 2.225 billion bushels forecast for the current year. After next year, corn exports were projected to increase 25 million bushels annually to 2.175 billion bushels in 2026-27.

Soybean exports were projected at 2.100 billion bus in 2017-18, up 50 million bushels from 2.050 billion bus forecast for this marketing year, followed by declines the following two years and then mostly annual increases, reaching 2.150 billion bushels in the final two years of the outlook.

The preliminary long-range outlook uses the USDA’s November World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report as a starting point. Forecasts will be revised and commentary added in the department’s Agricultural Projections to 2026 report in February 2017, which coincides with the USDA’s annual Outlook Forum. The tables provide a first glimpse at the USDA’s 2017-18 projections.


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