WASHINGTON — In its Agricultural Projections to 2023 released Feb. 13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast increased plantings of U.S. wheat and soybeans in 2014 but lower plantings of corn, with plantings of all three crops seen lower in each of the following two years as prices weaken before leveling out from 2017-18 forward in most cases.


“Planted area for major field crops has been relatively high in recent years in response to high prices,” the U.S.D.A. said. “As U.S. and global supplies rebound and prices decline for most crops, U.S. planted acreage for these crops is projected to fall over the next several years in response to lower producer returns.”

After a record high average price of $6.89 a bu in 2012-13, corn prices are forecast to average $4.50 a bu in the current year (2013-14), then average under $3.50 a bu from 2015-16 through 2017-18 before rising slightly but still averaging under $4 a bu from 2018-19 through 2021-22, according to the U.S.D.A. forecast.

U.S. wheat prices averaged $7.77 a bu in 2012-13, are forecast to fall to $7 a bu this year, fall below $4.50 from 2015-16 through 2017-18, firm slightly but continue to average below $5 a bu from 2018-19 and 2020-21 and then creep back above $5 from 2021-22 forward.

Soybean prices averaged $14.40 a bu in 2012-13, are forecast to average $12.15 in 2013-14, drop to $9.75 in 2014-15 and then fall below $9 in 2015-16 and 2016-17 before climbing back above $9, but below $10, from 2017-18 through 2022-23.