Soybean, corn seed orders at record high
Regional orders for corn and soybean seed are at all-time highs as the USDA releases optimistic production projections for both crops.
The demand has led to a shortage of some hybrids and varieties, however, said Tom Mullineaux, agribusiness representative on the Maryland Agricultural Commission, at a Feb. 8 commission meeting.
Augusta Seed, based in Verona, Va., has exhausted its stores of several popular hybrids, including A5566, the most popular in the region, sought for its high yields, excellent late-season plant health and disease resistance, said Dennis Rawley, company owner.
“It’s not like there’s not going to be plenty of good seed available, but it’s definitely not a year for people to be waiting until the last minute to make their decisions,” he said. “The pressure is the greatest on the fuller-season varieties, the high-peak yield varieties. The earlier maturity corn is not where we’re feeling the pressure more.”
Rawley said he believes farmers are refocusing after the shock of skyrocketing input prices last year.
“The farmers have gotten a little more used to the idea that with these higher commodity prices, we’re going to have higher inputs,” he said. “Where last year, they might have decided to plant soybeans two years back to back, that doesn’t work in the long term.”
The USDA forecasts that 91 million acres of corn will be planted in the United States this year, up by more than 2 million from the previous year, according to a February projection. Soybean acreage is expected to remain the same at about 88 million acres.
The USDA has also predicted a rise in corn production, thanks to an estimated record yield of 181.5 bushels per acre. This is expected to result in a projected crop of about 15 billion bushels, which is around 10 percent higher than the previous year’s yield. If these predictions hold true, the crop would be the second-largest ever recorded, only surpassed by the 2016-17 crop year.
The season-average farm corn price is expected to fall $1.10 to $5.60 per bushel, and soybean prices are projected to drop $1.40 to $12.90.
“We are having a really good year, and it may be an all-time high in terms of our sales when it’s all done,” Rawley said. “We are incredibly thankful for the support that the farmers are giving us and the support that our products are getting because it’s such a blessing to have that after last year when things were slower across the board.”