U.S. farmers might forgo near-record soy acres

American farmers, already set to leave a record number of acres without corn, now face the prospect of also failing to plant soybeans because of rampant rainfall.

Growers are expected to file insurance claims on 2.2 million unplanted soybeans acres, according to the average estimate among analysts. While some farmers still have time to plant, the estimate would be just below the record of 2.23 million acres that couldn’t be planted with soy in 2015.

For corn, the survey of 19 analysts predicted so-called prevented-plant acres would total a record 6.7 million acres, up from the average of about 6 million in a May 30 Bloomberg poll

The wettest 12 months on record have already prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to scale back its domestic corn harvest estimate earlier in the year than normal. The agency has signaled it may lower its estimate for American soybean in a report due July 11.

Rains were forecast in the coming days in the southern Midwest and Mississippi River Delta, all but ending the spring planting season for some. Farmers attending a Thursday evening event in Illinois, dubbed the “prevent plant party,” said the latest government report doesn’t fully capture how bad this year’s crop will be. The weather woes are hitting farmers who have also borne the brunt of President Donald Trump’s trade war with China.

“The forecast is still not good,” said Sara Menker, chief executive officer of Gro Intelligence, an agricultural analysis firm that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The outlook for rain was butting up against deadlines for planting in insurance policies that cover crop losses or declines in prices at harvest, she said.

“They weren’t able to plant the corn and now they aren’t able to plant the beans,” said Will Osnato, a senior analyst at Gro Intelligence. Areas with the biggest risk of acreage loss include central Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. “It takes time for fields to dry. We are not getting a dry period that’s long enough for plantings.”

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