New Delhi — The corn acreage in the US in the 2021-22 marketing year (September-August) is expected to rise by 1.2 million acres to 92 million acres on the back of high prices and an expected return to normal planting weather, Chief Economist with the US Department of Agriculture Seth Meyer said Feb. 18.
The area under soybean is also forecast to rise to 90 million acres, up 6.9 million acres year on year.
The higher acreages under corn and soybean are supported by higher prices of the commodities and less prevented planting, according to Meyer. The 2020-21 US season average prices for both corn and soybeans are projected at seven-year highs, Meyer said.
"In 2019 and 2020, the area under prevent plant was above average and simply going back to normal planting weather would increase total planted acres by several million acres," he said.
The combined acreage under corn and soybean will be a record 182 million acres.
The US wheat acreage is also likely to see an increase of 651,000 acres to 45 million acres, Meyer said, while addressing the USDA's agricultural trade outlook forum.
The total area under wheat, however, is below the five-year average, Meyer said.
The planted area for winter wheat is predicted at 32.0 million acres, up 5% from 2020-21 and the first increase in winter wheat acreage since 2013-14.
"However, for spring and durum wheat plantings for 2021-22, higher expected net returns for corn and soybeans in the Northern Plains are anticipated to reduce combined acreage," Meyer said.
"Wheat prices are projected to rise as lower carrying stocks and supplies lead to tighter ending stocks," he said.
Agriculture exports at record highs
US agricultural exports are forecast to rise in the 2021 financial year to a record $157 billion on strong demand from China, Meyer said.
Exports to China in 2021 are forecast at a record $31 billion, reflecting strong October-December shipments of US soybeans, corn, wheat, cotton and chicken paws, he said.
"The Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement signed by the United States and China re-opened an important market to US producers that had been disrupted," Meyer said.
"The commitment by China to expand its purchases of US agricultural products has coincided with its effort to rebuild its livestock sector after suffering the devastating effects of a widespread outbreak of African Swine Fever."
Sales of agricultural commodities to China accelerated in the summer and autumn, and by the end of the year the pace of corn and soybean sales to China was at or approaching new records.
US agricultural sales to Mexico, Japan, Korea and other major trading partners worldwide also remained strong, he said.
Total government payments to US farmers had increased in 2020 because of adverse circumstances but are projected to fall in 2021, Meyer said.
In 2021, livestock and poultry sectors will face additional pressure in the form of higher forecast feed costs, but faced with a demand pattern that is expected to be more stable, livestock and poultry prices should average above 2020, he said.