Blogging by the Bushel
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U.S. farmers will plant slightly less soybeans this year than the record acreage of 2014 and will plant more corn than originally projected, said the Agriculture Department at its Outlook Forum on Thursday in Washington, D.C.

USDA chief economist Robert Johansson said, “Soybean area is expected to fall modestly from its record area in 2014 to 83.5 million acres, with movement out of soybeans tempered by its lower operating costs and forward marketing opportunities in the past few months.”

Corn plantings are projected at 89.0 million acres this spring, down 1.6 million acres from 2014 and 8.2 million acres below its recent peak in 2012. Soy plantings totaled 83.7 million acres last year.

Wheat plantings, at 55.5 million acres, are projected to be 1.3 million acres below the 2014 figure.

Johansson’s figures, based on current conditions, were revisions from USDA’s projections released in December. Those called for 88 million acres of corn, 84 million acres of soybeans and 56 million acres of wheat.

“Row crop prices have declined significantly from record highs in recent years but remain well above levels seen in the early 2000s,” said Johansson in a speech that opened the two-day conference.

USDA said season-average prices for the three major field crops will be slightly higher than expected in December. USDA now projects farm-gate prices of $3.50 a bushel for corn, $9 a bushel for soybeans and $5.10 a bushel for wheat. The corn and wheat prices are 10 cents higher than USDA”s initial projections and soybeans were 50 cents higher.

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