Photo: Library of Congress
Excited about Friday’s big jobs report? Fine, but put that on hold for a day.The big thrill comes out Thursday morning this week, when the USDA releases its big Prospective Plantings survey. It’s a once a year survey asking farmers what and how much of key crops they intend to plant this year.
Deutsche Bank offers this preview:
Corn: Consensus – 91.662m acres; USDA outlook est. – 92m. This would be a 4% YoY increase from current crop year acreage of 88.2m and the second-highest corn crop ever (2007/08).
Soybeans: Consensus – 76.969m acres; USDA est. – 78.0m. This would compare to year-ago 77.4m, and also be among the highest ever crops. We also note that a higher portion of this is expected to be double-cropped (7%
Consensus acreage: All Wheat – 57.302; Winter Wheat – 41.150; Spring Wheat – 13.710; Durum – 2.552; Cotton – 13.120.
And from Citi:
USDA — In its baseline projections, the USDA is forecasting 92 million planted corn acres in 2011 (up 3.8 mm acres Y/Y), but also projects increased acres for soy, wheat, and cotton. All told, acreage for these four major crops are expected to increase by 4.2%, or 9.6 million acres to 239.8 mm acres in 2011. Even after adjusting for double cropped acres of wheat and soy, the USDA is looking for 7.4 million additional acres to come on line in 2011, with the USDA’s figure representing the largest planted area ever for these crops (see figure 1).
Key Takeaway — While high crop prices are positive for acreage, it may prove difficult for the USDA’s current acreage forecast to be realised. This is supported by information coming from our March Madness conference call series, in which our group of farmers, crop insurance experts, fertiliser distributors, and seed distributors all agreed that the US is likely only in store for modest boosts to total planted acreage in 2011 and with many farmers maintaining their tradition corn/soy rotations. Thus, both the mix of acres and the ultimate size of total planted area remain debated issues, which will begin to come into focus on Thursday’s report.
Given the focus on food prices these days, and the fact that this is a once-per-year report, it’s gonna be a big day.
8:30 AM ET Thursday. We’ll be all over it.