June 28, 2019 / 5:00 PM / 19 days ago

Instant View: USDA corn acreage estimate exceeds trade expectations

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. farmers planted 91.7 million acres of corn and 80.0 million acres of soybeans in 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday.

The corn figure was above the highest in a range of trade estimates in a Reuters survey while the soybean number was below the lowest of analyst estimates.

The USDA projected total U.S. 2019 wheat plantings at 45.6 million acres, in line with trade expectations.

The USDA also reported U.S. June 1 corn supplies at 5.202 billion bushels, below the average trade estimate of 5.332 billion.

Chicago Board of Trade September and December corn futures fell their daily limit after the release of the reports and wheat also declined, while soybean futures rose.

COMMENTS:

* Mark Gold, managing partner, Top Third Ag Marketing:

“I don’t know where the heck they’re coming up with this (corn planted acreage) number. You’ve lost so many acres - in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, South Dakota. In my opinion, there’s 10 million acres that didn’t get planted. How they can come up with this number, I have no idea, because it’s out of the realm of possibility ... That bean number is about right.”

* Terry Reilly, senior analyst, Futures International:

“The trade was leaning the wrong way for corn and soybeans. The Chicago Board of Trade reacted accordingly. Producers were intending to plant more corn. One reason behind that is the economics favored corn all along.”

* Tom Fritz, commodity broker, EFG Group:

“My opinion is that USDA is not factoring in corn ‘prevent plant’ acres at all - not at all. The USDA lowered the corn acres in the last report, and now raised the corn acres? I don’t think anyone who’s in touch with what’s happening out here in the Midwest believes this corn number.”

* Karl Setzer, market analyst, Agrivisor:

“I’m not saying the USDA is right. I don’t believe this number. But I think the USDA is sending the message that corn acres got planted, regardless of what some of these farmers up here in the Midwest see outside their kitchen windows. I’ve talked to guys in Iowa who told me they planted more corn. I’ve talked to guys down in the Deep South, who didn’t plant cotton, and planted corn instead.”

* Brian Hoops, president, Midwest Marketing Solutions:

“These are intentions of the farmers in the first two weeks of June, so this is probably not what was actually planted. These numbers are certainly going to be subject to change, for corn and soybeans both.”

“This is what the USDA will say in their balance sheets in the July supply-and-demand report ... Until we get into August and get the actual prevented planting acres, this is what we have to go with.”

* Brian Basting, analyst, Advance Trading:

“The survey was taken the first two weeks in June, and that’s what the intentions were. Obviously it seems like some of those states had challenges after the survey was taken, particularly in the Eastern Corn Belt. It’s a very volatile and uncertain environment.”

* Jim Gerlach, president of A/C Trading:

“Indiana’s corn acres are up 150,000 (acres) and Michigan is unchanged ... You just have to drive around here and you’ll figure out real quick that that’s not right. This really makes the USDA look incompetent.”

“Sell corn at your own peril and buy beans at your own peril based on today’s data. Grain stocks were actually a little friendly in corn and beans, and those numbers will stick with us for a while. Acreage numbers will be thrown in the garbage can.”

* Ted Seifried, chief ag market strategist, Zaner Group:

“We had producers wanting to plant corn and scale back on beans ... With the ongoing trade war with China, the prospects for corn prices were better, so guys really wanted to load up on corn. Weather since the survey was taken probably didn’t allow as much corn as what we were hoping to plant, and may have forced us to plant more beans.”

* Craig Turner, commodities broker at Daniels Trading:

“Trade isn’t going to believe 91 (million acres) for corn ... We should expect all of the numbers to come down some. Everyone is shocked about the corn number.”

“Soybeans (plantings) were bullish. Farmers were trying to plant all that they could.”

Reporting by Chicago commodities desk

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