U.S. farmers planted nearly 5 million fewer acres of corn this spring than estimated by the U.S. government in March, the biggest cut in 37 years.
The coronavirus continues to roil demand for the crop.
The drop in corn seedings, as well as an 11.1 percent cut in cotton plantings, accounted for the bulk of the USDA’s 7.2 million-acre reduction to its estimate of major crops seeded this spring.
Soybean plantings fell below market expectations, with export demand in focus due to uncertainty about purchases from China arising from trade tensions.
“We were planting into peak fear,” said Ted Seifried, chief ag market strategist of the Zaner Group. “There was poor pricing, poor outlook in the market … some guys not able to get into the fields—and we were in the middle of the pandemic.”
Also contributing: Demand for corn-based ethanol fuel dropped sharply in the spring as drivers stayed at home during lockdowns, making corn less appealing to farmers.