A new survey finds that Iowa farmers are planning to plant less corn this spring and more soybeans, echoing a nationwide trend. The survey was released today (Friday) by “Farm Futures” Magazine, and market analyst Arlan Suderman says Iowa farmers indicated they’ll cut back on corn acreage this spring by three percent. That’s within the margin of error, he says, that could mean if conditions look good in April, they could wind up planting the same amount of corn they did last year after all. He says he’s talked with a lot of Iowa farmers who hope to stick pretty close to their usual rotation.
Nationwide, growers report they plan to cut corn acres 2 percent. Suderman says nationally soybeans acres are predicted to be up four and a half percent, and Iowa farmers indicate they’ll boost soybean plantings 7 percent this spring. He attributes the increase to the fact that speculative money invested in soybeans has kept prices attractive.
Suderman says there’s so much speculative money invested, it’s kept soybean prices at an attractive level and kept farmers bullish about them “even though they probably shouldn’t be.” High fuel costs are part of the reason some consider giving up corn planting, and high natural-gas prices are pushing up fertilizer prices as well.
Some who are aggressive at marketing have locked in a price for a good share of their 2006 crop and know they can cover expenses. Suderman says nothing’s certain until planting time and farmers may change their intentions right up until them.