Monday morning’s USDA Crop Acreage Report appeared slightly bearish for corn prices and friendly for soybean prices as USDA raised its estimate of 2008 U.S. corn plantings, but lowered its projection of harvested soybean acres significantly.

USDA on Monday pegged U.S. corn plantings at 87.327 million acres, up 1.5% from the March intentions of 86.014 million acres and at the high end of trade expectations, which averaged 85.676 million acres in a range from 83.500-87.399 million acres.

USDA pegged U.S. soybean plantings at 74.533 million acres, down 0.3% from the March intentions of 74.793 million acres and in the upper half of trade expectations that averaged 74.257 million acres in a range from 72.000-76.000 million.

The soybean market, however, may find USDA’s projection of harvested soybean acreage far more interesting. USDA slashed its projection of harvested soybean acres to 72.121 million acres from the estimate of 73.800 million acres that appeared in its June supply/demand update. That’s a decrease of 1. 679 million harvested acres or 2.3%.

The new estimate of harvested soybean acreage, combined with USDA’s June yield projection of 42.1 bu./acre indicates a 2008 soybean crop of 3.04 billion bushels, down from the 3.105-billion-bushel crop projected in the June supply/demand update.

Despite the increase in acreage planted to corn, USDA raised its projection of harvested corn acres by only 194,000 from the 78.8 million harvested acres it projected in the June supply/demand report.

The new estimate of corn harvested acres, combined with USDA’s June yield projection of 148.9 bu./acre indicates a 2008 corn crop of 11.750 billion bushels, up slightly from the 11.735-billion-bushel crop projected in the June supply/demand update.

The changes in harvested acreage were made due to additional survey work done by USDA during late June in an effort to determine how recent Midwest flooding had affected harvesting intentions.

Because USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service collected most of the data for the annual Acreage report before the majority of the flooding occurred, approximated 1,200 farmers in the flood-affected areas were re-interviewed by NASS June 23-25.

As a result of the added survey work, USA determined U.S. farmers intend to harvest 90.4% of their planted acres of corn for grain, down from a rate of 92.4% as measured during the first two weeks of June.

The additional interviews showed farmers intend to harvest 96.8% of their planted acres of soybeans, compared with a rate of 98.7% indicated by surveys taken the first two weeks of June.