Friday, February 29, 2008

U.S. Acreage Battle Commences

From Reuters:

The buzz among traders on the floor of Chicago Board of Trade this week was the pending battle for U.S. acres — poised to be one of the messiest in history. It will be a price fight as global demand targets the country’s three top crops — corn, soybeans, wheat.

One flash point was USDA’s preliminary U.S. acreage estimates released during its annual outlook conference held this week, Feb 21-22, in Washington, DC. The other is the start of the planting season which is just six weeks away in the heart of the Corn Belt.

One prominent Midwest agronomist at Iowa State University, Palle Pedersen, said this week “it’s going to be an interesting spring.” Pedersen, who works with farmers from the top crop state of Iowa, said they are in quandary on how many corn and bean acres to plant. Lately, he’s been getting a sense that Iowans are looking more seriously at soybeans — as the price for new-crop CBOT November soybeans has rallied more than 20 percent since Jan. 1, hovering near $14 a bushel, and input costs to plant corn, like anhydrous ammonia, are skyrocketing....MORE