The discovery of soybean rust in the United States will most likely cause some acres to be shifted away from soybeans, especially in the South and the Eastern Corn Belt.

In the South, those acres will likely go to cotton, but in the Eastern Corn Belt that could mean additional acres of corn being planted.

“If more acres of corn are planted in the Eastern Corn Belt, that would normally stimulate livestock, specifically hog production,” says Chris Hurt, University of Purdue agricultural economist. “However, reducing the soybean acreage in the Eastern Corn Belt also would increase the price hog producers would pay for soybean meal, so it’s a push really.”

Another problem with moving too many acres from soybeans to corn involves lowered yields from deviating from their normal crop rotation.

“You could see a 6 percent to 10 percent reduction in yields from planting corn consecutive years in the same field,” says Hurt. “Economically, you would be better off to stay with soybeans, even if you have to spray twice for soybean rust, than switch to corn and take a 7 percent loss in yields, for example.”