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In grains, the big news has been the USDA prospective plantings
report, which has corn up to 93 million acres in 2016, up 5 million
over last year, and it was an unexpected gain given that stock
levels of grain are high now. Big stocks plus a big planting equals
even bigger ending stocks — and prices have declined substantially
for corn as a result, down 15 cents per bushel on the report.
The USDA report?
Officially, here’s what USDA had to say:
Corn planted area for all
purposes in 2016 is estimated at 93.6 million acres, up 6
percent from last year. If realized, this will represent the
highest planted acreage in the United States since 2013, and
will be the third highest planted acreage in the United States
Soybean planted area for 2016 is
estimated at 82.2 million acres, down less than 1 percent from
last year. Compared with last year, planted acreage intentions
are down or unchanged in 23 of the 31 estimating States.
All wheat planted area for 2016
is estimated at 49.6 million acres, down 9 percent from 2015.
The 2016 winter wheat planted area, at 36.2 million acres, is
down 8 percent from last year and down 1 percent from the
previous estimate. Of this total, about 26.2 million acres are
Hard Red Winter, 6.60 million acres are Soft Red Winter, and
3.37 million acres are White Winter. Area planted to other
spring wheat for 2016 is estimated at 11.3 million acres, down
14 percent from 2015. Of this total, about 10.7 million acres
are Hard Red Spring wheat. The intended Durum planted area for
2016 is estimated at 2.00 million acres, up 3 percent from the
All cotton planted area for 2016
is estimated at 9.56 million acres, 11 percent above last year.
Upland area is estimated at 9.35 million acres, up 11 percent
from 2015. American Pima area is estimated at 215,000 acres, up
36 percent from 2015.
It’s good news for ethanol producers, however, who are seeing
gasoline prices recover slightly and raw input prices in corn
continuing to decline. That also means good news for biodiesel
producers that have adapted their technology to utilizing inedible
corn oil, which should be available in even more abundance.
Meanwhile soybean plantings were flat compared to 2016. The big
change is in wheat plantings, which were down almost 5 million
acres to offset the corn increases — mostly in the western states
like Colorado. So, the new corn is going to be somewhat more
sustainable — having to be transported fewer miles and chewing up
less fossil carbon in the process. Also, sorghum is down
substantially from 8.4 million acres to 7.2 million, dropping by
more than two-thirds in Arkansas alone.
So, it’s bullish on the whole for biofuels, but not so for
growers excepting those who have a secondary market for
agricultural residues where some of that expected bumper crop can
be put to use for cellulosic production.
The Hard Data
Prospective Plantings: The
Digest’s 2016 8-Slide Guide to corn, soy, sorghum, wheat acreage
Son of Billion Ton: The
Digest’s 2016 Multi-Slide Guide to the USDA Billion Ton Report
Jim Lane is editor and
publisher of Biofuels Digest where this
was originally published.
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