2021 Planting Intentions Report

March 29, 2021. This season, Indigo expects U.S. farmers to plant 93.8M acres of corn and 91.6M acres of soybeans, totaling 185.4M acres – the highest ever on record for the two major row crops. Compared to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) February Outlook, Indigo’s projections are above the USDA by 1.8M acres for corn and 1.6M acres for soybeans.

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While total cropland acres remained relatively steady, the proportion of acres planted as corn and soy has seen a steady increase over the last twenty years, from about 150M acres in 2000 to over 180M acres expected today. Since 2010, area planted in the U.S. has averaged 53% corn and 47% soybeans. Indigo’s estimate for the 2021 crop is 50.6% corn and 49.4% soybeans – a shift in line with soybean’s favorable prices compared to corn and a return to normal prevent plant acres. This year’s record planted acres forecast comes at the expense of wheat acres, which are expected to be down 11.8M acres since 2014.

How do we generate our forecasts? Our estimates leverage historical market data from the past decade to forecast the ratio of corn-to-soy acres in the U.S. Most notably, we build forecasts based on economic indicators including reported prices received by growers, futures prices, and stocks reports. The relationship between these variables and the corn-to-soy ratio are shown in three graphs within our report.

What you can expect next. Next week, Indigo will release updated yield and total production forecasts for the two most important grain producing regions in South America, Brazil and Argentina. Then, the final update for the South American crop – including insight into the safrinha crop – will be released in May. Starting in June, Indigo will offer its first corn and soybean production forecast for the U.S. growing season, followed by monthly updates through the end of the year.

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