Takeaways from USDA Prospective Plantings report

Published: Mar. 31, 2022 at 10:36 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The United States Department of Agriculture published the Prospective Plantings report today. The key takeaways for North Dakota from the report: high input costs points to a prediction for low spring wheat production and a shift to alternative crops.

Nationwide, the total acreage for corn, soybeans, and wheat, has stayed about the same from year to year. But in North Dakota, producers are planting fewer acres of those crops for more cost-effective alternatives.

“Flax, barley, canola, oats: all popular crops up here in North Dakota that farmers are rolling to with lower input costs,” said Eugene Graner, president of Heartland Investor Services.

Input costs are playing a big role in planting plans this year.

“Prices haven’t doubled on all commodities, so you need that yield to make that up. Or you choose a crop that maybe doesn’t need as much nitrogen, like soybeans can fix their own nitrogen. And that’s, I think, why we saw some of the lower spring wheat numbers in this report, is because the nitrogen fertilizer expense,” said Jim Peterson, ND Wheat Commission policy and marketing director.

Still, industry experts don’t necessarily expect the forecasted numbers to be realized.

“This year I think there is still some indecision, just because so many crops are at very attractive prices. But on the same token, input costs are historically high too. So, I think this is a year where still I would expect to see some shifts from the March survey to June,” said Peterson.

The planted acreage report will be published on June 30th.

One crop that is particularly subject to more acreage is corn. Right now, corn production in North Dakota is expected to be down 12% from last year. But when there’s good planting weather, farmers generally like to lean on corn production. But on that front, only time will tell.

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