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CHICAGO: US soybean futures fell to their lowest in a month on Thursday after the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected that farmers would plant the most acres on record to the oilseed this spring while reducing corn acres.

Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) wheat futures were lower but Minneapolis Grain Exchange spring wheat futures rose after the USDA’s spring wheat plantings figure fell below expectations.

As of 1:06 p.m. CDT (1806 GMT), CBOT May soybeans were down 42-1/2 cents at $16.21-1/2 per bushel after dipping to $16.13-1/2, the contract’s lowest since Feb. 28. May corn was up 13 cents at $7.51 a bushel, paring gains after surging to $7.70 after the USDA’s figures were released.

CBOT May wheat was down 4-1/4 cents at $10.23 per bushel but MGEX May spring wheat was up 24 cents at $10.82.

The USDA forecast US 2022 soybean plantings at a record-high 90.955 million acres, up 4% from 2021, while corn seedings were seen falling 4% to 89.490 million acres. Analysts said high fertilizer costs were likely steering US farmers away from corn, which requires more fertilizer than soybeans.

“This one was all about the input costs,” said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based US Commodities. “As the (fertilizer) price kept jumping and really spiked in the last month with the Ukraine situation, guys said it’s just too easy to plant beans,” Roose added.

However, Roose and other analysts noted that the USDA’s acreage estimates could change due to weather and market moves during April and May, when planters roll in the US Corn Belt. The USDA will release updated acreage figures on June 30, when most planting should be complete.

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