CHICAGO, March 20 (Reuters) - Crop forecaster Lanworth said on Wednesday it expects U.S. farmers to plant a record 81.3 million acres of soybeans this spring.
Lanworth also said it expects U.S. corn acreage of 96.5 million acres, down 1 percent from a year earlier.
Lanworth cited crop rotation practices, flat corn profitability and a return to normal spring weather as the reasons for the increased soybean acreage.
The soybean acreage will result in a 2013/14 harvest of 3.455 billion bushels, Lanworth said, lowering its production outlook from a previous estimate of 3.465 billion bushels.
Lanworth also trimmed its U.S. corn production outlook to 13.640 billion bushels from 13.700 billion. And it lowered its U.S. wheat harvest forecast to 2.023 billion bushels from 2.026 billion.
Lanworth said it expects the U.S. Agriculture Department's upcoming prospective plantings report to peg corn acreage at 95.7 million and soybean acreage at 79.1 million.
In South America, Lanworth raised its estimate of Argentine corn production to 25.5 million tonnes from 24.9 million and upped its Argentine soybean production view to 50.5 million tonnes from 49.4 million.
Lanworth boosted its forecast for Brazil soybean production to 81.1 million tonnes from 80.8 million but trimmed its corn harvest estimate from that country to 76.4 million tonnes from 76.9 million.
Lanworth left its forecast for Russian and Ukrainian wheat production unchanged at 49.8 million tonnes and 23.3 million tonnes, respectively.
Lanworth is a brand of Thomson Reuters Commodities Research and Forecasts. A Lanworth spokesman said the reported estimates are the midpoints of confidence ranges and are best understood in the context of Lanworth's full report.
The report is available to Thomson Reuters Eikon Commodities subscribers at: