Informa/Allendale Planting Intentions

In case you missed it both Allendale & Informa Economics came out with their 2009 US planting intentions estimates Friday. The acreage numbers make for interesting reading compared to what the USDA had to say at it's February Outlook Forum:

Informa Allendale USDA Forum 2008

Corn 81.419 85.406 86.000 85.982
Soybeans 81.502 80.439 77.000 75.718
Wheat 59.700 57.977 58.000 63.150
Total 222.621 223.822 221.000 224.850

So it seems that US farmers will plant less of the big three crops generally for the 2009 harvest.


For corn, one of the most striking this is surely the huge difference between Informa & Allendale's ideas. Informa clearly see quite a large switch away from corn reflecting higher input costs in the current economic environment.

Allendale say that 4.15 billion bushels of corn will go into ethanol production in 2009/10, up from 3.70 billion in 2008/09. Ending stocks for 2009/10 are projected at 1.295 billion from Allendale, sharply lower than the 1.740 billion estimated by the USDA for the current 2008/09 marketing year. Stocks/usage is seen dropping to 10% by Allendale, from 15% in the current season.


For soybeans the thing that stands out is how much more the two private firms estimate plantings than the USDA indicated last month. Certainly the biggest surprise to come out of the February Forum was that the wholesale switch from corn to beans that many had anticipated wasn't going to happen on such a large scale, they said. February's guesstimates were too low the private firms are saying, by 3.4 million acres in the case of Allendale, and by 4.5 million in the case of Informa.

Crucially Allendale peg 2009/10 ending stocks at 526 million bushels compared to the USDA's estimate last week of just 185 million in the current season. Stocks/usage is seen increasing from 6% this season to 17% next season by Allendale.


Allendale's figure is very close to last month's USDA Outlook Forum estimate of 58.0 million. The Allendale number is an 8.2% decrease from 2008. Even with a sharp drop in plantings Allendale still see 2009/10 ending stocks at 647 million bushels, a relatively small drop on the 712 million forecast for the current season by the USDA earlier last week.

One reason for that is that Allendale are using a yield of 44 bu/acre for the current crop despite the drought situation in the southern Plains. That is only modestly lower than last season's all-time record of 44.9 bu/acre and would make 2009 the third highest yielding year on record despite the drought.

The Allendale yield estimate may prove to be a bit optimistic, it is a full bushel/acre higher than the USDA projected back in February, yet drought conditions have worsened since then.