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As commodity prices continued their slide last year, no-tillers have continued to shift more of their acreage to soybeans.
Soybean acres increased by 2-6 percentage points in four of seven U.S. regions surveyed for the 7th annual No-Till Operational Benchmark Study.
Some 94% of no-tillers grew corn in 2014, down by 0.3 points from 2013, and 88.5% grew soybeans, a 2.5-point drop. About 56% of growers raised small grains last year, up by 5 points.
Looking at crops raised as a percentage of total acres, corn’s share grew by 1 point to 40% in 2014, while soybeans jumped 4 points to 37%, and grains/wheat remained unchanged at 15%. (See Figure 1.)
But the picture is much more variable at a regional level. In the Great Lakes, Appalachia and Eastern Corn Belt, corn acres saw declines on the order of 4-16 percentage points, while soybeans picked up acres in all three of those regions.
This trend seems to mirror what some analysts are seeing nationally. In its planting intentions survey released in late March, Doane Advisory Services predicts record soybean plantings of 87 million acres this year and a decline in corn plantings for the second straight year to 87 million acres, the lowest since 2009.