Mixed signals on U.S. planting intentions

A global strategist for grain and oilseeds with Rabobank says he’s getting mixed signals on what U.S. farmers intend to plant this spring.

Stephen Nicholson says soybean margins look better than corn margins. However “talking with seed companies, there continues to be really good corn sales. Their farmer surveys show farmers want to plant more corn again. We’re a little puzzled by that.”

He says many farmers stick to their rotation when making planting decisions, but a reduction in U.S. corn acres could help prices.

“We’ve got to pull back 4 to 5 million acres to get some of this supply situation on the corn side under control.”

Nicholson says he’s also getting mixed signals about spring wheat and cotton.

“When we look at the modeling, we see an increase in cotton acres. Looking at surveys, we see basically flat cotton acres. And when we look at the price of cotton and it’s come up and we wonder, where’s it going to go? And wheat has certainly had its problems.”

Nicholson says other specialty crops like pulses and sugarbeets might see an increase, but it can be tough to compete with major crops for acres.

U.S. planting intentions will be confirmed in USDA’s Prospective Plantings report scheduled to be released at the end of March.

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