The U.S. Department of Agriculture will release its Prospective Plantings Report on March 31. In the days leading up to it, several organizations are making predictions as to what the report will show. An Ag Web Dot Com article says Met Life Agricultural Finance is the latest to do so. Met Life is predicting that farmers will increase their soybean acres 3.3 percent over last year. If that comes true, it would raise U.S. soybean acres to 87 million. That number is a bit lower than Allendale’s projection of 88.8 million acres and USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum prediction of 88 million acres. A Met Life report says, “Cyclically low agricultural commodity prices have led to declining financial conditions in the sector, and planting soybeans requires less working capital than corn and cotton.” As an example, the report cites 2015, when the average per-acre operating costs for soybeans was $171 per acre, compared to $334 for corn and $497 for cotton. Other highlights from the Met Life report include an expectation that farmland values won’t start a recovery until 2019. The report also advises a cautious approach to 2017 because political uncertainty can cause market volatility.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.