WASHINGTON — Smaller wheat and corn area but larger soybean area in 2017 were projected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Nov. 29 in selected early-release tables of its upcoming U.S.D.A. Agricultural Projections to 2026 report. Similar trends have been forecast by several private market analysts recently.
The U.S.D.A. sees all wheat planted area bottoming at 48.5 million acres next year, down 3% from 50.2 million acres in 2016 and, if realized, the lowest in records going back to 1919. Harvested area was forecast at 41.1 million acres, down 6% from 43.9 million acres this year. All wheat area was projected to rebound slightly in 2018 and then hold steady at 49.5 million planted acres and 42 million harvested acres from 2019 through 2026.
After planted area of 94.5 million acres in 2016, corn area was forecast to drop 5% to 90 million acres in 2017 and then slowly but consistently decline to 86 million acres in 2026. Harvested area was forecast at 82.3 million acres next year, down 5% from 86.8 million acres this year, with a gradual slide to 78.3 million acres in 2026.
Soybean planted area was forecast to increase 2% to a record 85.5 million acres in 2017, decline slightly the following three years, then hold at 85 million acres from 2021 through 2026. Harvested area was forecast at 84.6 million acres in 2017 and holding at 84.1 million acres from 2021 through 2026.
Wheat exports were forecast flat with 2016-17 at 975 million bus through 2019-20, then up 10 million bus in most years to 1,035 million bus by 2026-27.
Corn exports were projected at 1,950 million bus in 2017-18, down 12% from 2,225 million bus forecast for the current year. After next year, corn exports were projected to increase 25 million bus annually to 2,175 million bus in 2026-27.
Soybean exports were projected at 2,100 million bus in 2017-18, up 50 million bus from 2,050 million bus forecast for this marketing year, followed by declines the following two years and then mostly annual increases, reaching 2,150 million bus in the final two years of the outlook.
The preliminary long-range outlook uses the U.S.D.A.’s November World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report as a starting point. Forecasts will be revised and commentary added in the department’s Agricultural Projections to 2026 report in February 2017, which coincides with the U.S.D.A.’s annual Outlook Forum. The tables provide a first glimpse at the U.S.D.A.’s 2017-18 projections.