WASHINGTON, DC, US — The US Department of Agriculture in its annual June 30 Acreage report estimated US corn and wheat planted area below the average of trade expectations, while total wheat area was above the trade average. Futures prices for all three commodities shot higher after the 12:00 Eastern Daylight Time release of the report, including daily limit gains for corn futures.
Meanwhile, estimates of June 1 corn, soybean and wheat stocks, released at the same time in the USDA’s quarterly Grain Stocks report, all came in below the average of trade expectations, adding more fuel to the futures price runup.
The USDA estimated corn planted for grain in 2021 at 92.692 million acres, and forecast harvested area at 84.495 million acres, both up 2% from 2020. The average of pre-report trade estimates for planted area was 93.787 million acres. The USDA’s June planting estimate was 1.7% above the March 31 Prospective Plantings forecast of 91.144 million acres.
Soybean planted area in 2021 was estimated at 87.555 million acres, and harvested area was forecast at 86.720 million acres, both up 5% from last year. The average of trade expectations was 88.955 million acres. The USDA forecast soybean planted area at 87.6 million acres in March.
All wheat was the only major grain with planted area above trade expectations. The USDA estimated planted area for all wheat at 46.743 million acres, up 5% from a year ago, with harvested area forecast at 38.102 million acres, up 3.7%. The trade average for all wheat planted area was 45.94 million acres.
In the Grain Stocks report, the USDA estimated June 1 corn stocks in all positions at 4.112 billion bushels, down 18% from June 1, 2020, and compared with an average trade estimate of 4.144 billion bushels. Soybean stocks were estimated at 767 million bushels, down 44% from last year and compared with the trade average of 787 million bushels. All wheat stocks on June 1, which was the start of the 2021-22 marketing year for wheat, were estimated at 844 million bushels, down 18% from last year and compared with the trade average forecast of 859 million bushels.
While the trade was looking for more corn and soybean acres to replenish supplies for the 2021-22 marketing year, planted area instead came in below trade expectations, even if both were well above year-ago levels. One analyst noted that much of the increase in corn planted area was in North and South Dakota, which are experiencing significant drought conditions, while planted area in states to the east, where rain has been more plentiful, were down from a year ago. The lower-than-expected acreage puts more pressure on strong average yields, which in the western Corn Belt may be in doubt due to drought, analysts said.
Futures prices shot higher as trade added more risk premium to the markets. CME Group corn futures jumped 20¢ to 40¢ a bushel with new crop contracts up the 40¢ daily limit. Soybean futures surged more than 90¢ a bushel in the three nearby months, while soybean meal added more than $27 per ton and soybean oil gained more than 1¢ a pound. All three wheat classes were up 20¢ to more than 30¢ a bushel with spot July Minneapolis spring wheat up 48¾¢.