USDA Prospective Plantings Report Shows Optimism

By Benjamin Cox on April 2, 2020 at 8:35am

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its annual prospective plantings report yesterday showing that farmers are expected to have a much better planting season this year. Illinois farmers are expected to plant 11.3 million acres of corn and 10.5 million acres of soybeans this planting season, according to the report.

If all the acreage according to the report are planted, it would be an 8% increase for corn and 6% increase for soybeans over last year. Last year’s extremely wet weather nearly destroyed crop forecasts, as production for corn over the year dropped by 18% and 20% for soybeans.

Despite the optimistic planting forecast, farmers are concerned about the demand for major crops during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ethanol production has hit a lull due to a lack in demand for gasoline, which has caused the corn market to shift. Increasing uncertainty is a wetter-than-normal spring forecasted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA scientists currently predict April through June will be rainier than average in Illinois. However, forecasters have said they expect this planting season will not be as wet as last year. Illinois farmers are projected to be among the top states in acreage gains from last year if all acres are planted and the wetter-than-normal weather stays away.

According to the USDA report, Illinois farmers expect to plant the most acres of soybeans and second-most acres of corn, behind Iowa. Illinois ranked first and second, respectively, in production of each crop last year.