Many producers in the Midwest may decide instead of planting corn in 2009 in favor of growing soybeans.
"Though fertilizer and fuel prices could be down sharply, the cost of growing corn is still high," said Farm Futures Senior Editor Bryce Knorr. "Beans look to be the crop of last resort for many farmers, which could lead to another big increase in seedings."
Because of the record high prices for soybeans and flooding that delayed planting in 2008, farmers planted 17% more acres to soybeans last year. While corn is the higher yielding crop, its input costs are substantially higher.
According to the CME Group's Monday edition of Commodity News, some of the acreage battle has already been fought as some farmers chose to save acres for spring crops by not planting winter wheat this fall.
Cotton was the third most planted crop in 2008, but experts doubt it will take acres away from other crops due to the low prices being seen in the cotton market.
According to a Farm Futures survey, farmers appear ready to reduce corn acreage by 1% to 85.1 million acres while increasing soybean acreage to 80.1 million acres, an increase of 5%. However the crop-mix for 2009 remains somewhat uncertain as many farmers are waiting as long as possible before making their planting decisions.