Prospective Plantings Report
On Wednesday, March 31, USDA released their Prospective Plantings Report. This is the first report of the season based upon actual farmer surveys.
Corn plantings are estimated at 91.1 million acres, up less than 1 percent, or 325,000 acres from last year. In Arkansas, intended plantings are pegged at 700,000 acres, up 13% from 2020. Corn futures were oversold already, and this report sent the market limit-up as traders were expecting a much larger crop. 20-21 ending stocks are expected to be tight, so expect to see prices supported through spring. Acreage could, of course, still increase, especially if we see dryer conditions early. December corn charted a huge bullish reversal after the report was released and posted their highest close in over 2 weeks.
Soybean planted acreage for 2021 was pegged at 87.6 million acres, up 5% from 2020. In Arkansas, acres are estimated to be 3 million, up 6% from last year. Total acres here were also less than expected. Soybean stocks are also expected to be tight, and traders were expecting to see higher planting intentions to fill demand. The report sent soybean futures higher, with November regaining most of the losses of the past two weeks in a single afternoon.
All cotton acres were pegged at 12.036 million for 2021, which was mostly in line with trade expectations. The National Cotton Council’s survey pegged planting intentions at 11.468 million acres, and given the market reaction to the report, farmers might still decide to move cotton acres to corn or soybeans. Arkansas’ crop was estimated to be 490,000 acres. December futures did chart a bullish reversal today, mostly supported by carryover strength from corn and soybeans, as the cotton report was mostly neutral.
All rice acres were estimated to be 2.71 million acres, down 11% from last year. Arkansas farmers are expected to plant 1.13 million acres of long grain and 121,000 acres of medium and short grain, for a total of 1.251 million acres, down 14% from 2021. September futures continue to be capped by resistance at $13.
Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report
The recent Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report provided a bullish surprise for the market. The report showed that on March 1, all hogs and pigs were down 74.773 million head, a decline of 1.8% from the same time last year. This total was outside the range of average trade expectations and tie first year-over-year decline for March since 2014. The number of market hogs also declined 1.8%, and the number of hogs and pigs kept for breeding declined 2.5%. The market was already trending solidly higher, but the report resulted in a large gap higher for June futures and prices moving to new contract highs, providing an opportunity for producers to continue to recover from losses incurred in 2020.
USDA Announced Additional Assistance for Cattle, Row Crop Producers
USDA announced last week more than $12 billion for the Pandemic Assistance for Producers, which will help farmers and ranchers who previously did not qualify for COVID-19 aid and expand assistance to farmers who have already received help. Farmers who previously submitted CFAP applications will not have to re-apply. Sign-up for the new program begins on April 5.
The program will include:
- An increase in CFAP 1 payment rates for cattle-USDA estimates additional payments of more than $1.1 billion to more than 410,000 cattle producers.
- Additional CFAP 2 assistance of $20 per acre for producers of eligible flat-rate or price-trigger crops—USDA estimates additional payments of more than $4.5 billion for more than 560,000 producers.
- Processing of eligible payments for CFAP Additional Assistance—USDA will finalize routine decisions and minor formula adjustments on applications and begin processing payments for certain applications field for this program.
Visit farmers.gov/cfap for more information.