With soybean futures prices at $14 per bushel and corn at $4.90 per bushel, many of the nation's grain farmers are expected to switch some of their acres from corn to soybeans this year.
Farmer are projected to plant a record 81.5 million acres of soybeans this year, up 6 percent from 76.5 million acres last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's annual planting intentions report released Monday. Planted acreage intentions are up or unchanged across all states with the exception of Missouri and Oklahoma.
On the flip side, the U.S. corn producers are expected to plant 91.7 million acres of corn this year, down 4 percent from 95.4 million acres in 2013. If realized, it will represent the lowest planted acreage in the United States since 2010, but still the fifth largest corn crop since 1944.
Iowa farmers are projected to plant 9.6 million acres of soybeans this year, up 3 percent from 9.3 million acres in 2013. Corn producers are expected to plant 14 million acres, up 3 percent from 13.6 million acres in 2013.
Monday's report did not include any surprises, according to Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines.
"We still have a tight to very tight situation in soybeans, but we're edging that over to an adequate or possibly surplus supply of soybeans," Roose said. "Our feed usage for corn was bigger than the trade thought and it tightened the balance with regard to old crop corn and made the new crop acres more important than they were before.
"With a cool, wet forecast for April, we're adding risk premium for the corn."
Roose said Iowa corn and soybean farmers are planting more acres this year as they return land to production.
"Last year was a tough planting year," he said. "It was a wet year in the north and northeast portions of the state.
"They're just coming back to where we were in 2012."
The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report shows 57 percent of Iowa remained in moderate to severe drought as of March 25. Farmers are concerned that they will receive an appropriate amount of rainfall in the next few weeks as they plant this year's crop.With some areas of the state continuing to deal with frozen ground as much as 6 feet deep, farmers are concerned that the ground will have thawed to the point where roots can take hold and plants can grow.