USDA reports to be released on March 31 will bring the U.S. corn and soybean markets, now heavily influenced by Brazilian crop prospects and speculative trading activity, back into focus, said a University of Illinois Extension marketing specialist.

"If acreage changes are within expectations of 2 to 3 percent for corn and soybeans, the March 31 Prospective Plantings report should have little immediate impact on prices," said Darrel Good. "A 2 percent increase in corn acreage and a 3 percent decline in soybean acreage combined with trend yields– about 145 bushels and 40 bushels, respectively– would provide adequate supplies for the 2005-06 marketing year.

"Without surprises on March 31, the next move in corn and soybean prices will likely be associated with expectations about average yields in 2005. Those expectations will begin to be formed by planting season weather and will be molded by weather and crop developments as the growing season progresses. Periods of concern will provide pricing opportunities."

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Dealer and Applicator magazine, ARA