Last week's report of planted acreage from the USDA's Farm Service Agency is leaving one University of Illinois economist to question the magnitude of planted and harvested acreage of corn and soybeans.
Acreage reported to FSA as planted was 91.428 million, 2.6 million more than reported last month, said economist Darrel Good. That's compared to USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service has estimated planted acreage at 97.379 million acres.
FSA acreage is expected to be less than the NASS estimate because not all producers are enrolled in programs that require reporting of planted acreage to the FSA.
"Recent history suggests that the difference between the corn acreage reported to FSA and acreage estimated by NASS this year will be smaller when final estimates are available," Good said. "If the final difference is equal to the largest difference of the past six years, the gap will narrow by 2.5 to 2.6 million acres," he said.
Planted acreage of corn reported to FSA increased from September to the final estimate by only 228,000 acres in 2011 and 213,000 in 2012. But the increase may be larger this year due to the lateness of planting and the extension of the FSA deadline for reporting planted acreage.
According to Good, the question is whether any reduction in the NASS estimate of corn-planted acreage and acreage harvested for grain could be large enough to alter prospects of a substantial increase in corn stocks by the end of the current marketing year.
If the estimates follow historical patterns, a1.3 to 1.4 million-acre reduction in the estimate of planted acreage could be in order. However, such a decline would require the FSA report of planted acreage to increase by about 1.2 million acres in order to narrow the gap between the two estimates into the historical range.
Good said such an increase would be "outside the recent experience," suggesting the NASS estimate could be reduced by as much as 2 million acres. With an average yield near 155 bushels, a 2 million-acre reduction in the estimate of harvested acreage would reduce the production estimate by 310 million bushels and result in year-ending stocks of about 1.545 billion bushels, based on current consumption forecasts, he said.
For soybeans, planted acreage according to FSA is 74.659 million, up 2.5 million from last month. NASS on the other hand, reported 77.178.
Last year, planted acreage of soybeans reported to FSA increased from September to the final estimate by only 190,000 acres in 2011 and 161,000, suggesting that the NASS estimate this year could be reduced by as much as 800,000 acres, Good said.
"That is not a large decline and is well within the experience of the past 10 years. With an average yield of 41.2 bushels, an 800,000-acre reduction in the estimate of harvested acreage would reduce the soybean production estimate by 33 million bushels and result in year-ending stocks of about 120 million bushels, based on current consumption forecasts," he said.
Source: University of Illinois