USDA Projects Record Soybean Acreage in 2014

The USDA is expecting a record amount of acres devoted to soybeans in 2014 as corn planting decreases.
The USDA is expecting a record amount of acres devoted to soybeans in 2014 as corn planting decreases.

According to a recent USDA news release, United States crop producers are expected to plant an all-time high in soybean acreage in 2014, surpassing a previous record set in 2009, as acres devoted to corn face decreased expectations.

The information was gleaned from the USDA’s “Prospective Plantings” report, which showed an estimated 81.5 million acres of soybeans will likely be planted in 2014, up 6% from last year, climbing past 2009’s record 77.5 million planted acres. Soybean planting acreage intentions are expected to increase or remained unchanged from last year in all states except Missouri and Oklahoma, indicating a nationwide uptick.

The largest increase in acreage on a state level is expected to occur in North Dakota, where producers plan on planting 5.65 million acres, up from one million acres in 2013. Also, if the USDA’s projected numbers are realized, the planted area of soybeans in Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin will be the largest on record.

The spike in soybean acreage is largely being fueled by corn planting reductions, as growers intend to plant 91.7 million acres in 2014, down 4% from 2013. If realized, this reduction would put corn acreage at its lowest mark since 2010. However, not all producers are ready to abandon corn planting in 2014 until they analyze business data. Kevin Scott, a corn and soybean farmer in Valley Springs, S.D., said, “Experience is going to tell me more. It’s not that I disagree with what the USDA is saying, it’s just that I’ve been doing it long enough to know you better listen to yourself, make your plans and stick to it.”

2014 could be a breakout year for soybean planting in the U.S. as indicated by the USDA. A reduction in corn planting could free up acres for soybeans in many states, raising production to levels never seen before.