After back-to-back records in soybean acreage and production, farmers are likely to plant more corn in 2018, possibly enough for the second-largest corn crop ever, says a University of Missouri think tank. “The outlook for corn returns has improved relative to those for soybeans,” says FAPRI chief Pat Westhoff.FAPRI projects corn plantings of 93.2 million acres, a gain of 2.3 million acres, while soybean acreage would slip to 86 million, down by 2.5 million acres but still the second-largest acreage ever.Futures prices were more supportive for corn in early fall than they were when farmers finalized planting plans last spring, and fertilizer prices are lower than a year earlier, says Westhoff. Crop rotation patterns also suggest it’s time to cycle out of beans. FAPRI estimates that this year’s record-setting soybean crop will result in a season-average price of $9.07 a bushel, more than 40¢ below the 2016 crop’s average, another nudge toward corn. USDA says there will be a price decline but not as severe.