U.S. corn, soy acreage to expand in 2018-19, USDA says

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. farmers are likely to expand plantings of both corn and soybeans while reducing wheat seedings for the upcoming marketing year, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Tuesday.

The USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist forecast that farmers will seed 91 million acres of corn in the 2018-19 crop year, up from 90.4 million for 2017-18 but down from 94 million in 2016-17.

For soybeans, acreage will also rise to 91 million acres, topping the record high set in 2017-18 at 90.2 million.

USDA projected U.S. all-wheat plantings for 2018-19 at 45 million acres, down from 46 million in 2017-18 and, if realized, the lowest in records dating to 1919.

The forecasts are developed by consensus within USDA on a long-term scenario for the agricultural sector for the next decade. USDA will release its complete report on projections for the next 10 years in February.

The government projected 2018-19 U.S. corn production at 14.52 billion bushels based on a yield of 173.5 bushels per acre. The USDA said U.S. corn stocks at the end of the 2018-19 marketing year, on Aug. 31, 2019, would rise to 2.607 billion bushels, from 2.487 billion at the end of 2017-18.

For soybeans, the USDA forecast 2018-19 production at 4.36 billion bushels with a yield of 48.4 bushels per acre. The government projected that 2018-19 soybean ending stocks would tighten to 376 million bushels, from 425 million at the end of 2017-18.

USDA projected 2018-19 plantings of upland cotton at 11.2 million acres, down from 12.4 million in 2017-18, and forecast upland cotton production at 17.4 million bales, down from 20.65 million the previous year.

— Reporting for Reuters by Julie Ingwersen.

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