USDA's Long-term Projections Call for Higher Corn and Bean Acres in 2018-19

Posted on 11/28/2017 2:58 PM

USDA released some preliminary tables detailing its long-term projections for agriculture through the 2027-28 marketing year today. The department will release its complete USDA Agricultural Projections to 2027 report in February 2018. That release will include the tables released today, plus "a full discussion of the commodity supply and use projections, as well as projections for global commodity trade and farm income." 

USDA projects corn planted acreage will climb to 91 million acres in 2018-19 (versus 90.4 million this season), and then gradually decline to around 87.5 million acres by 2027-28. The department calls for an average yield of 173.5 bu. per acre in 2018-19, which would be down nearly 2 bu. from this season, with yields expected to climb around 2 bu. per acre each year thereafter. This is expected to boost production from 14.520 billion bu. in 2018-19 (down 58 million bu. from 2017-18) to 15.360 billion bu. in 2027-28. 

Corn ending stocks will likely climb to 2.607 billion bu. in 2018-19, but increases in use have USDA calling for just a 5-million-bu. increase in stocks from there by the close of the outlook period. The department projects average farm prices to climb from $3.30 per bu. in 2018-19 (up 10 cents from 2017-18) to $3.60 per bu. over the course of the next decade. 

For soybeans, USDA calls for planted acreage to climb to 91 million acres for 2018-19 and for acreage to creep up to 92 million by 2023-24. But after that, acreage is expected to hold at 91.5 million through the remainder of the outlook period. Yields are expected to slip 1.1 bu. to 48.4 bu. per acre in 2018-19, and then gradually climb around 0.5 bu. per acre over the next nine years to 53.1 bu. per acre in 2027-28. 

Ending stocks of soybeans are expected to decline to 376 billion bu. in 2018-19 and to be 342 million bu. in 2027-28. Soybean prices are seen climbing a dime from this season to $9.40 per bu. in 2018-19, with prices expected to rise to $9.80 per bu. over the next decade. 

Wheat plantings will likely slip another 1 million acres in 2018-19 to 45 million acres. Over the course of the next decade, acreage is expected to climb just 3 million acres to 48 million acres. Yields are also expected to rise modestly over the next 10 years, reaching 47.4 bu. per acre in 2018-19 and rising to 50.9 bu. per acre in 2027-28. USDA projects next year's wheat crop at 1.815 billion bu., up 74 million bu. from 2017-18, but sharply below the 2016-17 growing season. Production is expected to rise modestly amid increased acreage and yields to 2.077 billion bu. in 2027-28. 

In its outlook for cotton over the next decade, this year's 12.4 million planted acres is the high-water mark. USDA calls for acreage to slide to 11.2 million in 2018-19, with planted acres seen contracting further through 2019-20. Yields are also expected to drop next year.

While beginning cotton stocks are expected to be large, USDA is also calling for a boost in domestic use and exports to result in a 618,000-bale decline in ending stocks next year. Stocks are expected to fall further over the remainder of the outlook period. 

Wheat ending stocks are expected to decline in the years ahead, dropping to 813 million bu. in 2018-19 and slipping to 648 million bu. in 2023-24. Thereafter, just a modest increase in stocks is likely, according to USDA. Farm prices for wheat will likely average $4.60 per bu. in 2018-19, steady with 2017-18, with prices expected to climb to $5.00 by 2021-22 and inch another 20 cents higher by 2027-28.

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