by Ben Potter, Farm Futures magazine

USDA’s June 30 Acreage Report caught everyone by surprise, but especially the soybean markets. USDA’s count of 83.5 million acres of U.S. soybeans planted in 2023 was so far off everyone’s radar that it sent nearby July 2023 futures prices as well as new crop November 2023 futures up over $0.70/bushel.

USDA also came in higher than expected on corn acres, with 94.1 million acres expected to be planted this spring, nearly a million more acres than the highest pre-report market estimate. Corn futures shed $0.15-$0.18/bushel (3%) soon after the news.

“Usually, the market doesn’t spend a whole lot of time on the Quarterly Grains Stocks reports and we got to see that play out in real time today,” according to Farm Futures grain market analyst Jacqueline Holland. “Usage data for all three commodities between March 1 and June 1, 2023, was much larger than the markets had been anticipating, which gave all three commodities a nice price bump. But then USDA released acreage data and all of my hopes and dreams for a bullish Quarterly Stocks Report flew out the window.”

Acreage surprises

USDA’s new estimate for corn acres shocked analysts after jumping 6% higher year-over-year to 94.1 million acres – an increase of 5.52 million acres versus 2022. That was also more than 2 million acres above the average trade guess of 91.853 million acres. It’s also the third-most corn plantings since 1944.

In contrast, USDA lowered U.S. soybean acres by 5% versus 2022, with just 83.5 million acres. Acreage is steady or lower in 21 of the 29 estimating states. It was also noticeably below the average trade guess of 87.673 million acres.

To read the entire report click here.