Mar 29, 2022

Factors That Could Impact 2022 U.S. Crop Acreage

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Springtime is always a time when farmers worry if the weather will impair their ability to plant their crops in a timely manner. This year though, weather may be just one of the many factors farmers must worry about including the following:

Fertilizer price and availability - Fertilizer prices had already skyrocket before the war between Russia and Ukraine, but fertilizer prices have now moved even higher given the sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus, which are both major fertilizer exporters. In addition to the elevated prices, there is also a concern if the fertilizers will be available in time for spring planting regardless of price.

Corn is more expensive to plant compared to soybeans, so expensive fertilizers should favor less corn and more soybeans, but the current fertilizer situation is unpresented, and it is unclear how it will be resolved and how it might impact U.S. crop acreages.

Prevent plant - It is expected that there will be fewer prevent plant acres this spring due to the current lack of spring flooding and dryer conditions in the western Corn Belt. But, if the spring weather turned excessively wet in the western areas or if it stays wet in the eastern areas, then there might be the opportunity for prevent plant and with these elevated commodity prices and high input costs, farmers would probably be very willing to claim prevent plant instead of planting an expensive crop.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres - Industry representatives are asking the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to open 4 million acres of prime farmland currently in the CRP program so farmers can plant row crops for one year without a penalty. CRP acres are usually enrolled in the program for a period of ten years during which farmers receive a yearly payment for not planting row crops, but they must adhere to conservation requirements. CRP acres are usually not highly productive, that is what they are in the program.

The USDA-FSA would have to move with utmost speed and decide within the next 1-2 months if they will open some of the CRP acres for it to have an impact on the 2022 U.S. crop acreage. The European Union has already eased some restrictions so fallow land can be brought into production.

Weather - As always, the weather can play a key role in spring planting. The general rule is that a dry spring favors additional corn acres and a wet spring favors additional soybean acres.