Corn is again the top US crop after soaring grain prices motivated farmers to shrug off weather woes and high fertilizer costs to plant more than expected while cutting back on soybeans.
Chicago corn fell to the lowest since early February after the US Department of Agriculture said growers will plant 89.9 million acres, a slight rise from the March estimate. Soy seedings, which had been seen overtaking corn for only the third time in a century, dropped 3% to 88.3 million acres, still the third-biggest ever if realized.
America's producers had incentive to invest heavily in spring plantings after Russia's invasion of Ukraine sent crop prices soaring to near records, with corn outpacing soybeans amid heightened supply worries. Ample harvests this fall would help replenish war-strained reserves and potentially ease food inflation.
"The market signals were clear: Get it planted," said Kevin McNew, chief economist at agriculture-tech firm Farmers Business Network.
States including Minnesota and Wisconsin saw robust jumps in corn acres versus the intended planting estimates from March. Yet North Dakota -- where farmers have contended with a deluge that drastically delayed fieldwork -- had a 17% drop in planned acreage.
Most-active corn ended the day down 5.2% at $6.1975 a bushel, with the futures ending June with their steepest monthly decline since 2011. Soybeans settled 1.4% lower at $14.58 a bushel. They saw the biggest monthly drop in four years.
The USDA signaled that more revisions may be coming later in the season. In a special note within the report, it said some farmers turned in surveys even though planting wasn't completed by mid-June. The agency is collecting additional data on crops -- including corn, soybeans, wheat and canola -- that will be published in August.
Wheat plantings came in at 47.1 million acres, up almost 1% from the March outlook and slightly higher than the average forecast in a Bloomberg survey. If realized, the planting area would represent the fifth lowest since records began in 1919, USDA said in its report.
Wheat stockpiles as of June 1 totaled 660 million bushels, according to the US agency, higher than the Bloomberg survey's average estimate of 655 million. Chicago wheat futures for September tumbled 4.9% to $8.84 a bushel, the lowest since late February.
Soybean quarterly stocks came in a tad higher than expected, as did corn.
With the closely watched planting and stockpile reports posted, attention turns to the second half of the growing season. Weather as well as crop conditions, which have been in decline the last few weeks for corn and soybeans, will be under close scrutiny, as will US export demand and prospects for a global recession that could hurt demand for commodities.