US farmers are getting ready to plant record amounts of soybeans, analysts agree, but unless the crop also sees unusually good conditions, the harvest will fail to match the previous season.
In a survey of farmer planting intentions, the Illinois-based research and brokerage firm Allendale saw soybean plantings up 6.5% year on year, at 88.825m acres.
This an even bigger increase year-on-year than that forecast by the US Department of Agriculture last month, at 88.0m tonnes, reflecting the relatively attractive price of soybeans compared to corn.
And it beats the 88.02bn acres forecast made by analyst Informa this week.
Yields to fall, despite rising acres
But Rich Nelson pointed out that if realised, the results of this survey, which are modelled it on the USDA methodology, do not necessarily mean rising soybean production.
"This will be very important to watch because given the yield scenario this year, if we have normal weather and a return to trend yields we actually will see a decline in production versus last year, believe it or not," Mr Nelson said.
Allendale said that given trend yields the acreage forecast suggested production at 4.14bn bushels in 2017-18, down from 4.31bn bushels in the previous season.
Despite seeing much higher acres, Allendale's forecasts actually undercut those from Informa, which saw production at 4.23bn bushels, thanks to forecast of almost a bushel per acre higher production.
Lower acres and yields for corn
Corn sowings were seen in line with the USDA's forecasts, at 90.02m acres, down 3.99m acres year-on-hear.
"Allendale's production estimate would imply a production decrease of 1.3bn bushels off last year's record," the broker said.
"Lower acres and lower yields are the word for 2017."
Informa saw 2017 US corn production at 14.22bn bushels, thanks to harvest area of 83.428 million acres.
Record low acres for wheat
But Allandale saw wheat falling rapidly, missing even the low USDA forecast, to just 45.97m acres.
"This would be the smallest acreage since the start of USDA's current wheat planting data-series going back to 1919," the broker said.
Production was seen at 1.86bn bushels, down 454m bushels year on year.