June 3, 2013 / 4:36 PM / in 6 years

Morgan Stanley sees US corn plantings at 93.5 mln acres

* Firm’s acreage estimate down nearly 4 percent from USDA

* U.S. corn production at 13.3 bln bushels -Morgan Stanley

* Rain, crop insurance deadlines to slow further plantings

CHICAGO, June 3 (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley forecast 2013 U.S. corn plantings at 93.5 million acres, nearly 4 percent below the U.S. Agriculture Department’s forecast of 97.3 million, as wet weather has slowed fieldwork, the firm said in a research note on Monday.

The firm projected U.S. corn production for 2013/14 at 13.3 billion bushels, down 6 percent from USDA’s forecast of 14.14 billion.

Morgan Stanley noted that wet weather has stalled seedings in the U.S. Midwest, especially in top U.S. corn-producer Iowa. Planting has also been slowed in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

“Rainy weather is starting to have a material impact on corn planted area,” the firm said.

U.S. corn planting got off to a record-slow start this year after a cold and wet spring, although farmers were able to partially catch up in mid-May.

USDA said corn planting was 86 percent complete by May 26, lagging the five-year average of 90 percent. Fifty-four percent of the crop had emerged compared with the five-year average of 67 percent.

USDA is due to update its planting figures later on Monday. The average estimate for USDA’s corn planting progress among analysts surveyed by Reuters was 92 percent.

Morgan Stanley said farmers in northern states are not likely to continue planting into June. Crop insurance deadlines for corn have passed in Iowa and many other states, meaning that later-planted acres will be eligible for only partial coverage.

“Farmers in the northern states are more likely to claim insurance on acres not completed by the end of May, owing to the shorter growing season,” the firm said.

“Our new acreage estimates assume that the majority of unplanted acreage in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin will be claimed for insurance, though for now we only assume a quarter of Iowa’s unplanted land will be left fallow or switched to beans,” the firm said.

“We could still revise this estimate lower if weather keeps central corn belt farmers out of their fields,” the firm said.

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