There’s an old adage in rural America that says “rain makes grain.” If that’s the case, this season could be one for the record books.
Those calling for bumper crops also cite increased acreage as a factor pointing to bin-busting production.
The Agriculture Department released a few “guestimates” of its own Friday in its annual acreage survey and quarterly stocks report.
While record acreage and harvest numbers are predicted this season, storage bins are as empty as they’ve been in many years. USDA’s quarterly stocks report for June reveals corn supplies at a thin 2.76 billion bushels -- down a mammoth 65 percent from March, but only 12 percent lower than this time a year ago. Soybean stockpiles also remain tight with an estimated 435 million bushels remaining in the bin. That’s down a whopping 78 percent from the March report and it’s 35 percent lower than a year ago. And wheat stocks have fallen as well to 718 million bushels – declining more than 50 percent from last quarter and remaining almost 3 percent lower than last June’s quarterly stocks report.
Turning to the new crop, USDA’s annual acreage survey indicates corn planting is up slightly over last year at 97.4 million acres. According to federal officials that’s the most corn acreage planted in the United States since 1936. Currently, 96 percent has emerged and more than half of the corn is in good to excellent condition. If the weather stays favorable, USDA officials continue to predict a record harvest of just over 14 billion bushels.
The survey estimates U.S. soybean acreage at a record 77.7 million acres – up one percent from last year. Government analysts predict a record breaking harvest of 3.39 billion bushels. Excluding the small amount of acres yet to be planted, 92 percent of the crop is in the early stages of development and 65 percent is rated in the good to excellent range.
Wheat acreage is estimated at 56.5 million acres – up 1 percent from last year. USDA prognosticators have already predicted the wheat harvest will be 200 million bushels lower than last year at just over 2 billion bushels.
And for the 3rd consecutive year, cotton planting is expected to be reduced to just over 10 million acres – down 17 percent from last year. If the weather holds, 13.5 billion bales are expected to be harvested this year – more than 20 percent fewer than last season.