Four Takeaways from USDA’s Long-Term Agricultural Forecast

In February, USDA released its long-term agricultural forecasts through 2024. Within the report, the agency outlined acreage, yield, production and use projections for multiple crops. The following points highlight U.S. estimates for corn, wheat and soybean crops. 

1) Acreage estimates drop for corn and wheat but increase slightly for soybean. From 2013/2014 to 2024/2025, USDA estimated that corn and wheat planted acreage would decrease by 6.71 percent and 7.47 percent, respectively. In 2024/2025, planted corn acreage would total an estimated 89 million acres, and planted wheat acreage would total an estimated 52 million acres. For soybeans, USDA estimated that 2024/2025 acreage would total 79 million acres, which is a 2.86 percent increase relative to planted acreage recorded in 2013/2014. 

2) Yields estimated to increase modestly. For the most part, USDA estimates a relatively consistent annual gain in yields. The annual increase estimates were about two bushels per acre for corn, 0.4 bushels per acre for wheat and 0.5 bushels for soybeans. Between 2013/2014 and 2024/2015, USDA estimates that yields will increase 16.69 percent for corn, 4.46 percent for wheat and 14.09 percent for soybean. By 2024/2025, USDA forecasts that yields will average 185.3 bushels per acre for corn, 49.2 bushels per acre for wheat and 50.2 bushels per acre for soybean. The estimated yield growth, despite the planted acreage drop in some cases, contributes to estimated total production growth. 

3) Wheat used for all applications decreases, but corn and soybean use grows. Total wheat used will decrease 3.2 percent between 2013/2014 and 2024/2025 to reach 2.35 billion bushels in 2024/2025. As a share of total use, the domestic share will increase from an estimated 51.6 percent for domestic use in 2013/2014 to an estimated 54.8 percent in 2024/2025. Total corn and soybean volume used will increase an estimated 11.6 percent and an estimated 13 percent, respectively, to total 15.12 billion bushels for corn and 3.93 billion bushels for soybeans, based on the USDA estimates. The estimates suggest that domestic use as a share of total use will increase slightly for soybean and decrease slightly for corn. 

4) Farm prices maintain relatively low levels. The USDA report estimates that 2024/2025 farm prices will average $3.75 per bushel for corn, $4.85 per bushel for wheat and $9.55 per bushel for soybean. The following chart shows the change in price forecasts during the projection period. As a percentage of average prices from 2013/2014, the 2024/2025 prices will average an estimated 84.1 percent for corn, 70.6 percent for wheat and 73.5 percent for soybean.



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