Farmers plan to plant a record 78.1 million acres of soybeans this year, according to the Prospective Plantings report released by USDA yesterday. That would be a 1 percent jump in bean acres.

Corn acreage is expected to be up 3 percent or 2.32 million acres to 88.8 million. That would be the second largest area planted to corn since 1947, behind 2007. One reason for the rise in corn acres is that it was not possible to plant winter wheat in some areas due to wet weather. Corn acreage jumps of 300,000 or more are expected in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and Ohio. Biggest drops in corn acres could come in Iowa (-200,000 acres) and Texas (-150,000).

The largest gains in soybean acreage are expected in Iowa and Kansas, up 300,000 and 400,000, respectively, while Illinois, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota each show gains of 100,000 acres or less.

USDA also released its quarterly stock reports yesterday. Corn stocks on March 1 were put at 7.694 billion bushels compared to 6.954 a year ago. Soybean stocks were put at 1.270 billion bushels compared to 1.302 a year ago.

The corn and soybean acreage estimates were slightly higher than what had been expected by the trade. So those numbers should be viewed as favorable for those on the buy side of the corn and soybean equation.

The trade had expected somewhat smaller corn stocks and had expected soybean stocks to be about what they were.

Corn futures at the Chicago Board of Trade dropped about a dime a bushel yesterday after the reports came out. May, July, and September corn closed at $3.45, $3.56, and $3.66, respectively.

May and July soybeans dropped about 30 cents a bushel to $9.41 and $9.50.

Soybean meal futures went down, as well. May dropped $17 to $266; July dropped $14 to $265; August was down $12 to $262; September slid $10 to $257; and October fell $6 to $250.

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