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USDA forecasts decrease in planted acres in 2024-25

Projections indicate a downturn in planted acres for corn, wheat and soybeans, alongside declining commodity prices.

Clouds Over Wheat Feild Pixabay

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released its projections for the 2024/25 crop year, anticipating a decline in planted acres for major crops like corn, wheat, and soybeans, and forecasting lower commodity prices compared to previous years. The outlook, incorporating data from the January 12 NASS Winter Wheat and Canola Seedings report, is based on normal weather conditions for the upcoming planting and growing seasons.

The total combined acreage for corn, wheat, and soybeans is projected at 225.5 million acres, reflecting about a 1% decrease from the previous year. This reduction is attributed to expectations of lower prices and a return to more typical levels of prevent plant acres. Season average farm prices received by producers for these commodities are forecast to be lower than in 2023 and below the three-year average.

Production costs in Illinois, considered a proxy for the Corn Belt, show a decrease compared to last year, with fertilizer prices like anhydrous ammonia down nearly 40% and diesel costs 20% lower. However, interest costs have seen a modest rise.

Corn production is projected at 15.040 billion bushels, down about 2% from the prior year’s record, with a planted area forecast at 91.0 million acres. The corn crop is expected to face increased domestic use and exports but also higher ending stocks. The projected average corn price is $4.40 per bushel, down 40 cents from the previous year.

For soybeans, the outlook includes higher supplies, use, and ending stocks, but lower prices. The 2024/25 soybean production is forecast at 4.5 billion bushels, an 8% increase from the previous year. The soybean crush is projected to reach a record 2.4 billion bushels, driven by growth in biofuel use, while exports are also expected to increase. The average soybean price is projected at $11.20 per bushel, down $1.45 from 2023/24.

Wheat production is forecast to increase by 5% from the previous year to 1,900 million bushels, with a projected total use up 2% from last year. However, wheat exports are expected to remain below the long-term average. The season-average farm price for wheat is projected at $6.00 per bushel, a decrease of $1.20 from 2023/24.

The rice outlook for 2024/25 predicts higher supplies due to larger beginning stocks and record-high imports, with a nearly unchanged total production. All rice ending stocks are forecast to rise to the highest level since 2014/15. The average farm price for all rice is expected to decline by $1.60 per cwt to $16.80.

These projections will be updated in the May 10 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, which will incorporate farmers’ 2024 planting intentions and other global supply and demand projections.

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