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What’s with the Long-Term Agricultural Projections?

What’s with the Long-Term Agricultural Projections?

November 2, 2018 | |

USDA Office of the Chief Economist did an early release today of the Long-Term Agricultural Projections. Table below.


My current projections for 2019 acres (not IAG consensus): Corn at 92, soy 85, wheat 49, cotton 14, total 240.



The LTAP early release has been in late fall and the LTAP will be revised and released again during the USDA Ag Forum in Late February. This is not survey data. The LTAP is a 10 year projection based on mathematical models. On the site: there is a list of 12 indexed reports, the first 4 index items are labeled “assumptions”.  It is only numbers, there is no discussion or comment, not even on current or future US/China trade.


The total acreage for the four major crops in 2019 looks reasonable – smaller than 2018, but 2018 had a small prevented plant area. There are no prevented plant assumptions in the LTAP.



Current Projections:

For 2019/20: see table below.


For 2028:  very little change from this years’ acres.

-          91.5 million corn

-          85.5 million soybeans, adding .5 million per year.

-          48 wheat

-          13.1 cotton


A few interesting bits of history:


-          LTAP was correct in having corn equal to soy acreage, but LTAP was 1.9 million acres high for both.

-          Wheat 2.8 million acres too low. A result due to big spring wheat acres.

-          Cotton 3.2 million acres too low. USDA should have been better on cotton.



-          Soybean 4.7 million acres too low.

-          Cotton too low by almost 2 million. Missed again

-          Total of four crops 4.5 million too low. That’s a big miss.


2009 Projections for 2018/19

-          90.5 million corn – good guess.

-          71 soybeans – 18 million (25%) less than actual. Who’s job was it to count the pigs in China?

-          59.5 wheat – 12 million too high, guess we hadn’t thought of gluten-free.

-          10.3 cotton – close enough.

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