A new survey from Farm Futures shows that U.S. corn producers will increase their acreage by 4.1 percent compared to last year. The projected total is 94.7 million acres of corn this year. If farmers reach that number, that will put 2021 corn acreage at its third-highest amount over the past 75 years, trailing only 2012 at 97.3 million acres and 2013’s 95.4 million.
A conservative trendline yield estimate of 177.4 bushels per acre would put corn production at 15.3 billion bushels. That would top the record of 15.1 million bushels harvested in 2016, which was the highest U.S. corn output ever recorded. While the January 2021 survey shows farmers favoring more corn planting this spring, planting intentions for both corn and soybeans are higher than 2020 levels. Plus, a good number of farmers plan to stick with their normal crop rotation.
The Farm Futures survey shows farmers will increase soybean acres by 1.4 million, to 84.5 million. Uncertainty remains as farmers look ahead, ranging from dry South American weather forecasts to Chinese demand and pandemic-induced volatility. The survey says farmers are betting on a post-COVID recovery that boosts ethanol output and rising global export demand.