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(Mikkel Pates/Agweek)

USDA acreage report shocks the market

Fargo, N.D. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Quarterly Stocks and Acreage Report held some surprises that shocked the market.

Anticipation was high going into the reports due to the unprecedented planting delays across the Corn Belt and the accuracy issues that would create with farmer surveys being done while farmers were still planting.

Corn acreage was estimated by the agency at 91.7 million acres, up 3% from last year and well above trade estimates of 86.7 million. Luke Swenson with The Money Farm in Fargo says the number was somewhat confusing considering USDA lowered corn acreage in the June 11 report by 3 million acres to 89.8 million acres due to the unprecedented wet weather across the Corn Belt that made planting nearly impossible.

The question going forward is, what will USDA use for acreage in the July World Agricultural Supply and Demand report? Swenson says the reports operate independently and so USDA is not obligated to use the 91.7 million figure on the next supply and demand summary.

The agency pegged soybean acreage for 2019 at 80 million acres, which was well below the trade estimate of 84.35 million acres and the March intentions of 84.6 million. This figure is down 10% from last year and represents the lowest soybean planted acreage in the United States since 2013. Swenson says the trade is doubting the accuracy of this number as well because the surveys were taken from June 1 to June 17 and not all farmers had made their final planting decisions as of yet.

Swenson says minutes after the report was released, USDA announced that they would be resurveying 14 of the major corn and soybean producing states. Those results likely will be incorporated into the August report and tied into the crop insurance and Farm Service Agency certified acres. However, Swenson says it puts the survey accuracy into question.

"The subjectivity behind the report was unbelievable, especially when you look at the state-by-state breakouts they didn't add up with what people saw well into June 20," he says.

All wheat planted area for 2019 came in very close to trade guesses and was estimated at 45.6 million acres, down 5% from 2018. This represents the lowest all-wheat planted area on record since records began in 1919. The 2019 winter wheat planted area, at 31.8 million acres, is down 2% from last year but up 1% from the previous estimate. Of this total, about 22.7 million acres are hard red winter, 5.54 million acres are soft red winter, and 3.55 million acres are white winter. Area planted to other spring wheat for 2019 is estimated at 12.4 million acres, down 6% from 2018. Of this total, about 12 million acres are hard red spring wheat. Durum planted area for 2019 is estimated at 1.4 million acres, down 32% from the previous year.

Quarterly corn stocks on June 1, 2019, totaled 5.2 billion bushels, down 2% from June 1, 2018. Stocks on soybeans totaled 1.79 billion bushels, up 47% from June 1, 2018. Old crop all wheat stored on June 1, 2019, totaled 1.07 billion bushels, down 2% from a year ago.