The USDA’s Prospective Plantings report is one of the most heavily anticipated reports the ag department puts out each year even though a lot can change between March 31st and the end of planting season.
The report is primarily based on a survey of farm operators in the first two weeks of March. Last year, 73,000 farm operators were invited to participate, but USDA does not say how many responded.
From a high level, the report featured lower-than-expected planted acres of soybeans and higher corn acres (up 4% from last year) than the trade had expected. All wheat planted acres rose by 9% from a year ago, with winter wheat planting up 13% and other spring falling 2%. The report was deemed to be bullish soybeans, bearish new-crop corn and neutral wheat.
The focus in the report was on spring wheat, which at just under 10.6 million acres million acres, was 300,000 acres less than what the trade had expected and down 2% from a year ago. If that 10.57 million acres spring wheat number turns out to be correct, it would be the lowest since 1972. Of the “other spring wheat,” 9.95 million acres figures to be hard red spring. Durum also offered a surprise with planted area expected to total 1.78 million acres, up 9% from 2022.
The biggest surprise came in winter wheat, where the 37.5 million acres is up 13% from a year ago, and the number was revised 2% higher from the last report. Hard red winter was pegged at 26 million acres, soft red at 7.8 million acres and white wheat at 3.71 million acres. All wheat planting came out about 1.2 million acres higher than the average trade estimate, at 49.9 million acres, up 9% versus a year ago.
Wheat markets finished mixed following the report, with Minneapolis May wheat closing sharply higher on the lower spring plantings, KC up modestly and Chicago finishing unchanged.
The average pre-report estimate had acres pegged at 90.85 million, and the actual acreage came out nearly 1.2 million acres higher, at 92 million acres — that’s up 4% or 3.42 million acres from a year ago (88.6 million acres). While the acreage number was considered bearish for new-crop corn, December finished just a half-cent lower the day the report was released. May corn futures, trading up 7 cents prior to the report, finished 11 cents higher, closing convincingly above the 50-day moving average for the first time in five weeks.
USDA’s survey for soybean planting intentions resulted in a nearly unchanged planting intention of 87.5 million acres, compared to 87.45 million acres one year ago. Pre-report estimates pegged acres planted at 88.23 million acres, so the report was considered bullish for new-crop soybeans.
Across all crops, U.S. farmers will seed 2% more acres of principal crops. USDA estimates total planted area increasing from 312 million acres in 2022 to 318 million acres in 2023.
Growers in the Dakotas are really planning to go to work this spring. South Dakota will seed 3% more acres this year according to the report and North Dakota almost 7% more. A different story in Montana though where principal crop acres is expected to be down 50,000 acres or about a half of a percent.
Let’s drill down into those state specific numbers:
All wheat acreage is expected to total 5.33 million acres for 2023, down 130,000 from last year’s planted area. Winter wheat seeded last fall for harvest in 2023 is estimated at 2.00 million acres, down 50,000 acres from the 2022 crop.
Growers intend to seed 730,000 acres of Durum wheat this year, up 20,000 acres from last year. Growers intend to seed 2.60 million acres of spring wheat this year, down 100,000 acres from last year.
Growers intend to plant 1.09 million acres of barley in 2023, up 60,000 acres from last year’s actual plantings, and if realized, would be the largest barley planted acreage since 2003.
Thank you to the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee for putting together the below charts that track Montana’s acres planted to wheat and barley over the last several years.
All chickpeas area planted is expected to total 160,000 acres, down 27,000 acres from 2022. The acreage of small chickpeas is expected to total 50,000 acres, and the acreage of large chickpeas is expected to total 110,000 acres this year.
Lentil acres planted for 2023 are expected to total 375,000 acres, down 125,000 acres from last year. All dry edible pea area planted, which includes Austrian winter peas, is expected to total 570,000 acres, up 35,000 acres from last year.
As of March 1, Montana growers intend to plant 120,000 acres of corn for all purposes in 2023, down 10,000 acres, or 8 percent, from last year’s plantings.
The area expected to be seeded to oats, at 55,000 acres, is down 30,000 acres, or 35 percent from last year.
Hay producers in the State intend to harvest 2.40 million acres this year, an increase of 110,000 acres from the acreage cut for hay in 2022.
Montana canola producers intend to plant 170,000 acres in 2023, down 10,000 acres from last year. Flaxseed producers intend to plant 65,000 acres in 2023, down 33,000 acres from last year.
North Dakota spring wheat producers intend to plant 5.20 million acres, down 2% from 2022. Area planted to durum wheat is expected to total 980,000 acres, up 24% from last year. Winter wheat acres seeded last fall totaled 130,000 acres, up 24% from last year.
Soybean planted acreage is expected to be 6.55 million acres, up 15% from last year. Corn planted acreage is expected to be 3.75 million acres, up 27% from 2022.
All hay acreage to be harvested is expected to total 2.00 million acres, down 7% from last year’s acreage and a record low.
Canola planted acreage is expected to be 1.90 million acres, up 6% from last year. If realized, this would be a record high. Sunflower producers expect to plant 659,000 acres, down 8% from 2022. Oil varieties account for 590,000 acres, down 11% from a year ago. Non-oil varieties made up the balance at 69,000 acres, up 21% from a year ago.
Barley producers intend to plant 610,000 acres, down 18% from last year.
Dry edible bean acreage intentions are estimated at 590,000 acres, up 4% from 2022. All chickpea planted acreage intentions are estimated at 19,000 acres, up 37% from last year. Large chickpea and small chickpea planting intentions were withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual operations.
Dry edible pea planting intentions are estimated at 290,000 acres, up 26% from last year. Lentil intentions are estimated at 90,000 acres, down 10% from last year.
Flaxseed planted acreage is expected to total 110,000 acres, down 33% from last year.
Sugarbeet growers expect to plant 214,000 acres, down 15% from last year.
Oat intentions are estimated at 290,000 acres, down 16% from last year.
As of March 1, Wyoming growers intend to plant 85,000 acres of corn for all purposes in 2023, unchanged from last year’s plantings. If realized, this would represent the lowest corn planted area since 2015.
Growers intend to plant 80,000 acres of barley in 2023, up 3,000 acres, or 4 percent, from last year’s actual plantings. Winter wheat seeded last fall for harvest in 2023 is estimated at 115,000 acres, unchanged from the 2022 crop.
Hay producers in the State intend to harvest 1.10 million acres this year. This is down 10,000 acres from the acreage cut for hay in 2022.
The area planted to sugarbeets is expected to be up 700 acres from last year’s actual plantings to 30,000 acres.
Dry edible bean planted area is expected to total 15,000 acres, down from the 16,000 acres planted in 2022. If realized, this would represent the lowest dry edible bean planted area since 1925.
South Dakota corn growers intend to plant 5.90 million acres this year, up 3% from 2022. Soybean producers expect to plant 5.30 million acres, up 4% from last year.
All hay acreage to be harvested is expected to total 3.20 million acres, up 8% from last year’s acreage.
Winter wheat acres seeded in the fall of 2022 are estimated at 930,000, up 12% from last year. Other spring wheat planting intentions are 730,000 acres, unchanged from last year.
Sunflower producers expect to plant 440,000 acres, down 33% from 2022. Oil varieties account for 400,000 acres, down 34% from a year ago. Non-oil varieties made up the balance at 40,000 acres, down 5% from a year ago.
Oat intentions are estimated at 310,000 acres, up 19% from last year. Barley producers intend to plant 25,000 acres, down 11% from last year and matching the record low planted acres.
Sorghum growers intend to plant 255,000 acres, down 9% from a year ago.
Dry edible pea planting intentions are estimated at 8,000 acres down 43% from a year ago.
USDA/NASS/DTN/Northern Ag Network