Spring planting is almost here and our farmers continue to work hard to be ready when their opportunity to get in the field comes. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released their 2022 Ag Outlook, which reports what they expect the upcoming planting season to look like. They stated that it is expected to see more soybean acres and slightly less corn this year. According to Jenna Hoffman from AgWeb Farm Journal, the USDA predicts farmers will plant 92 million acres of corn and 88 million acres of soybeans. Corn acreage planted for the 2021 growing season was 93.4 million acres, which was an increase by 2.7 million acres from the 2020 growing season. Soybean acreage planted for the 2021 growing season was 87.2 million acres, which was an increase by 3.8 million acres from 2020. Wheat is also projected to increase for this 2022 growing season at 48 million acres planted. In 2021, there were 46.7 million acres of the crop and in 2020 there was 44.5 million acres.
The United States Department of Agriculture chief economist, Seth Meyer, explained that high prices are supporting the slight increase in combined acreage of corn, soybeans, and wheat planted compared to 2021. For reference, the predicted total acreage of the three crops combined is 228 million acres for 2022. In 2021 that value was 227.3 million acres. However, when looking at just corn and soybeans combined, the total is 0.6 million less acres planted than 2021. The 2021 planting season set the record high for combined acres of corn and soybeans at 180.6 million acres.
We can dive deeper than just acres planted in the USDA’s prediction. Next, we look at predictions and comparisons for each crop. Starting with corn, the USDA predicts that out of the 92 million acres forecasted to be planted, 84.2 million acres will be harvested. This is a slightly better percentage of how many acres will be able to be harvested compared to 2021. There was a loss of 8 million acres from planting to harvest in 2021, and the USDA is expecting only a 7.8 million acre difference for the 2022 season. Production of corn is predicted to stay at almost the same value as 2021, but the season average farm price (dollar per bushel) is predicted to drop by $0.45.
Moving on to soybeans, Hoffman states, “Soybean exports in 2022 are likely to hit 2.15 billion bushels. USDA says the increase of 100 million is in part due to the current drought in South America.” Hoffman continued to explain that the USDA expects South America to recover their export competition by the second half of the marketing year. Out of 88 million acres of soybeans expected to be planted, the USDA is forecasting that 87.2 million acres will be harvested. The percent of acres that will be available for harvest is comparable to the 2021 percentage. Yield and production numbers are expected to stay similar to what they were last growing season also. Yield is stated to be 51.5 bushels per acre for 2022. Lastly, the season average farm price (dollar per bushel) is predicted to drop by $0.25.
Finally we look at wheat, and the USDA predicts that out of the 48 million acres that are expected to be planted, there will be 39.5 million acres harvested. The percentage of acres harvested rises from about 80% in 2021 to about 82.3% in 2022. Yield for wheat is predicted to rise to 49.1 bushels per acre. Yield in 2021 was 44.3 bushels per acre. Production is another category for wheat expected to grow this year at 1,940 million bushel total. The season average farm price (dollar per bushel) is expected to drop to $6.80 from $7.30. It is important to recognize that the wheat predictions by the USDA were published before conflict in Ukraine worsened. The USDA later announced that they expected wheat production in the U.S. to rise to help support the loss of wheat that is expected to happen in Ukraine. This situation could easily influence the price of the crop as well.