Washington—When the USDA’s annual June acreage report came in a few weeks ago, there were lots of surprises. Despite floods in the midwest and late spring, acreage numbers were much higher than anticipated. So much so, that the USDA is doing a ‘re-do’.
US farmers started getting survey notices last week so that the USDA can get a much more accurate estimate of the crop size and planted acres across the US.
When the initial numbers came in, the USDA raised its estimate for corn acreage by more than 3% over last year’s plantings to 91.7 million acres. Some experts thought the numbers very big especially when the midwest flooded lands were mixed into the survey. Last week the WASDE report upped projected corn production to 195 million bushels because of “increased planted and harvested areas from the June 28 Acreage report.” And yet the projected yield is unchanged at 166 bushels per acre.
The report also dropped corn exports based on “current outstanding sales and shipments to date” and export inspection data hitting the lowest June figures since 2013.
The resurvey of farmers is critical to determining the size of this year’s expected crop. John Newton, American Farm Bureau Federation chief economist, says the updated information will provide needed market direction.
“It’s critically important that we get updated information on the acreage. There’s so much uncertainty on what the crop size this year is ultimately going to be, and so prices are trying to find a balancing point. So, that August report that includes the re-interview estimates should include lower corn acres. Once we get an updated yield estimate, we’ll have a better idea what the crop size is,” said Newton.
USDA data in the recent June acreage report is much higher than anticipated.
“Everyone had anticipated USDA to have a lower acreage number in this report due to the prevent planting number. Under Secretary Northey has even been on record that prevents plant could be a record 10 million acres this year. That’s why that number was so surprising and led to the dramatic drop in corn prices,” added Newton.
And Newton says states in the USDA resurvey areas still have many challenges.
“Most of the states report that the crop that is in the ground has been growing in pretty sloppy conditions, so there’s potential for yield drag. And then they also report a lot of idle acres, acres that have yet to be planted; many folks are done trying to plant a crop this year. And that’s the ground-level perspective from our Farm Bureau members,” said Newton.
The USDA will release the next WASDE and Crop Production reports on Aug. 12.