Plant more corn, more beans, what? “At $6/bu., corn is going to attract greater interest than $13 beans. Corn will just look more alluring this year,” says Ed Usset, grain marketing specialist at the University of Minnesota and columnist for this magazine. “Farmers seem to be confident about producing a good corn crop and a little more hit and miss with soybeans and wheat.
To help get a pulse on just how you’re contemplating your acre mix this year, Corn & Soybean Digest conducted an exclusive online survey of readers.
Our planting intentions survey showed that 24% of our online readers plan to decrease their soybean acres this year. More than 41% of those said they’d reduce those acres by 11-20%.
This magazine’s research analyst Scott Grau estimates from the survey that soybean acres should decrease by about 7% this year.
On corn, 31% of our online readers said they expect to increase their acreage this year; 48% said they’d keep it the same and 15% said they’d reduce their acres. “Larger farms with more than 2,000 cropland acres are more apt to increase their corn acres than smaller operations,” Grau reports. “Larger farms are decreasing wheat acres to increase corn acres.”
So why would readers increase their corn acreage? Half said they need to stick to their crop rotation, 47% are betting on increased profits and 21% expect higher yields.
Bob Worth and his son Jon are bucking the expected more-corn trend. They intend to plant fewer corn and more soybean acres this year on their Lake Benton, MN, farm. When they finally put the planter in the shed, they should have 980 acres of corn and 1,300 acres of beans in the ground.
Their reasoning for more beans? “We need to stick to our rotation plus the cost of fertilizer is skyrocketing,” Worth says. “With $13 beans we can make a good profit. Maybe not as good as corn, but we don’t have the input and harvest expense we have with corn. In 2009 we spent a tremendous amount on drying our corn.”
In addition, he says last year the yield with corn-on-corn acres “just wasn’t there. I heard losses in southwest Minnesota were as high as 30 bu./acre.”
Other crops, like cotton and wheat, are asking for more acres this year, too, Usset explains. “The market remains volatile and in flux. The price of new-crop corn could be $1 more or less by April.”