How many acres of corn this year?

For farmers and price analysts alike, most every discussion of “crop fundamentals,” begins with an estimate of planted acres, and not surprisingly, there’s seldom agreement. March’s Prospective Plantings Report suggested farmers were thinking about planting 97 million acres, but after prices retreated, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reported in June that 92 million acres were planted. And then in August, the Farm Service Agency reported only 81 million acres of corn were planted, which led to the customary round of complaints from the anti-USDA crop reports crowd.

Clearly, an 11-million-acre difference will impact corn production, supply and ultimately prices, but folks shouldn’t count out NASS’s estimates just yet. To read more about NASS and FSA efforts to estimate acreage, go here.