Every January, Farm Futures releases a survey of planting intentions for the upcoming spring. Jacqueline Holland is a grain market analyst with Farm Futures, and she talks about their 2023 survey results.
“We found that the larger wheat crop expected will probably put a ceiling on corn and soybean acres in 2023, but that high input prices are also a limiting factor for corn and soybean production, as well. For corn, we’re looking at 90.5 million acres, for soybeans, that’s 88.9 million acres, for winter wheat, we calculated 34.9 million acres, and in spring wheat, which includes hard red spring, white spring wheat, and durum wheat, that number we’re looking at 13.9 million acres. So, a total of 220.3 million acres for all three principal crops.”
Holland says their wheat number was somewhat unexpected.
“I was a little surprised when our numbers came in a little bit lower than USDA’s winter wheat calculation at the beginning of January. However, if you go back and look at Chicago winter wheat futures prices during peak planting season last October, they were 25 percent higher than a year ago. And at that time, input costs for corn and soybeans were still on the uptick. So that isn’t exactly a surprise, and when you go back and look at some of the outside factors impacting these crop markets. But I think what was even more surprising was just how narrow the gap was between corn and soybean acres for next year.”
A lot of the respondents already had their spring plans in place before 2023.
“Seventy percent of our growers said that they had already locked in their rotation for the upcoming year and weren’t expecting to make any last-minute changes. I think that growers who are outside of the traditional corn and soybean states, like in the eastern Corn Belt in the ‘I’ states, I think are areas where there is a little bit more flexibility with a rotation. And I think in those areas, I think small grains are going to probably be a little bit more competitive with corn and soybean returns, especially if input costs are a constraint in those areas.”
Holland says their estimates are showing the potential for a very large soybean crop.
“I use slightly different trendline yield than some of USDA’s baseline calculations in our estimate. I found that even with 88.9 million acres planted of soybeans, that would still generate a record-large U.S. soybean crop. And I think, if that’s the case, I think we could maybe see some of the supply pressures that we’ve seen weigh on these commodity markets ease back a little bit.”