USDA makes early crop forecasts
The USDA expects farmers to plant larger areas of soybeans and a reduced maize area this year compared with 2012. The soybean area is projected to rise by 0.4% to 77.5 million acres (31.4 million ha), which would equal the record area planted in 2009, according to the USDA’s chief economist, Joseph Glauber, speaking at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum this month. Maize plantings are expected to amount 96.5 million acres, down by 0.7% from last year’s 75-year high. The USDA’s initial survey of farmers’ planting intentions will be issued on March 28th.