WASHINGTON — U.S. farmers planted more soybean acres than corn for the first time in 35 years even as domestic soy supplies reached the biggest on record for early June, the U.S. Agriculture Department said on Friday.
Growers hoped for better profits for the oilseed, which costs less to plant than corn. But a brewing trade war with China has driven prices sharply lower since the planting season ended.
USDA said in its acreage report that farmers planted 89.557 million acres of soybeans and 89.128 million acres of corn nationwide. That compares to soybean acreage of 90.142 million and corn acreage of 90.167 million in 2017.
Analysts had pegged soybean acreage at 89.691 million and corn acreage at 88.562 million, based on the average of estimates given in a Reuters poll.
Both corn and soy acreage rose from the USDA’s planting intentions report, issued at the end of March. Corn acreage came in 1.102 million higher than the March forecast, its biggest positive change between the two reports since 2012.
On the stocks front, domestic soybean supplies stood at 1.222 billion bushels as of June 1, topping the record of 1.092 billion set in 2007.
Soybean usage was the highest ever for the quarter at 888 million bushels, up 15 percent from a year ago, but stocks remained high due to last year’s bumper harvest.