| WASHINGTON, March 31
WASHINGTON, March 31 U.S. farmers plan to seed a
record amount of soybean acreage this spring, even with supplies
trending near all-time highs, the government said on Friday.
Growers will dial back their corn seedings this spring
despite signs of firm demand as record stocks have cast a
bearish tone over the futures and cash markets this year,
threatening profitability for farmers.
The U.S. Agriculture Department said in its prospective
plantings report that U.S. soybean plantings were expected at
89.482 million acres. If realized, that would top last year's
soybean acreage of 83.433 million, which is the biggest to date.
Corn plantings were seen falling 4.3 percent to 89.996
Analysts had expected the report to forecast soybean
seedings of 88.214 million acres and corn seedings of 90.969
million, based on an average of estimates in a Reuters poll.
Wheat seedings were seen at 46.059 million acres, down from
50.154 million and the lowest on record. The average of analysts
forecasts was 46.139 million wheat acres.
On the supply front, USDA said that domestic soybean stocks
as of March 1 stood at 1.735 billion bushels, the second biggest
on record and the biggest March 1 reading since 1.787 billion
bushels in 2007. A year ago, soybean stocks were 1.531 billion
Corn stocks as of March 1 were a record 8.616 billion
bushels, topping the 8.248 billion bushels reported in March
1987. A year ago, corn stocks were 7.822 billion bushels.
USDA said that users burned through a record 3.770 billion
bushels of corn from Dec. 1 to March 1. The soybean drawdown
during that time was 1.164 billion bushels, the third biggest
ever but below comparable periods of 2015 and 2016.
Wheat stocks stood at 1.655 billion bushels, the biggest
since 1988, and up from 1.372 billion bushels a year ago.
Analysts, on average, had expected soybean stocks of 1.684
billion bushels, corn stocks of 8.534 billion bushels and wheat
stocks of 1.627 billion bushels.
(Reporting by Mark Weinraub; Editing by Andrea Ricci)