Grain market surprised by USDA projecting a 4 per cent drop in corn acres

As the ground thaws and the daylight hours get longer, many in the grain market had their eyes out for the annual United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Prospective Plantings report on March 31.

And there were some surprises in the report.

U.S. corn acres were estimated at 89.5 million acres, which is down 4 per cent — a total of 3.87 million acres — from last year. The trade was expecting a drop, however the number was well below the average pre-report trade guess of 92 million acres, sending corn futures higher.

Soybean acres, although not quite as dramatic, were at the upper end of estimates. The soybean planted area for 2022 is estimated at a record 91.0 million acres — a rise of 4 per cent year-over-year. The average analyst estimate was 88.7 million acres.

All-wheat acres are estimated at 47.4 million acres, only slightly below the expected 47.77 million acres. However, if this number is realized, this number will represent the fifth lowest all wheat planted area since records began in 1919. Of note in Western Canada, U.S. durum wheat planted area for 2022 is expected to total 1.92 million acres — up 17 per cent from the previous year.

Related: Navigating optimistic, yet uncertain, times ahead of USDA’s Prospective Plantings report

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