Chad Smith, NAFB News Service
It looks like U.S. farmers are upping the number of corn acres going into the ground during spring planting. The newest Farm Futures survey shows farmers will plant 96.4 million acres of corn during the 2020 planting season. That’s the second-highest number of intended acres after farmers put a record 97.3 million acres of corn in the ground during 2012. The Farm Futures number is more than two million acres higher than the most recent USDA projection in February of 94 million acres. Farm Futures points out that a lot of things have changed between the two forecasts. The coronavirus pandemic hit, upending the global economy. The increased economic uncertainty, historically cheap input costs, as well as weaker soybean demand from China all appear to have made corn the optimal choice among somewhat limited options for Midwest farmers. Farm Futures estimates that soybean plantings will total 82.7 million acres, almost three million less than the USDA estimate of 85 million, which also came out in February. The survey estimates that farmers will plant 45.8 million acres of wheat, higher than USDA’s estimate of 45.0. Farm Futures also estimates that farmers will plant 11.7 million acres of cotton, less than the USDA estimate of 12.5 million.