American farmers hit by the US-China trade battle are preparing to reshape the US Farm Belt by planting more corn and less soybeans next year over a land mass potentially equal to the size of Connecticut. For decades, corn was US farmers’ crop of choice, its tall stalks carpeting the Midwestern landscape. Soybeans, shorter and bushier, began decades ago as a niche crop raised on less acreage but came to rival corn in recent years because of growing demand from China. US farmers in 2018 planted more soybeans than corn for the first time in more than three decades, betting on that demand. But Chinese tariffs on US soybeans have hurt that bet: US exporters have sold less soybeans to China, typically the largest foreign buyer of the crop, in the past seven weeks than in a single week last fall.
"Prices will tell you that you would see a significant shift out of soybeans toward corn in the US," said Soren Schroder, chief executive of grain-trading giant Bunge Ltd., speaking at a Wall Street Journal conference in September. Some analysts say farmers could convert as much as four million acres from soybeans to corn next spring.1
1Newman, Jesse, and Jacob Bunge. Tariffs May Crown Corn King Again. The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 28 October 2018, www.wsj.com/articles/tariffs-may-crown-corn-king-again-1540728000.
focal length: 135mm | exposure: f/8 – 1/500 – ISO 250