* USDA forum to be market focus
* Increased plantings forecasts expected
* Eye also on advancing soy harvest in Brazil
* Coming up: Reuters Poll on seedings on Tuesday
By K.T. Arasu
CHICAGO, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Grain markets will turn their attention to supply-side factors this week, with forecasts from the U.S. government set to show increased spring seeding and the record harvest of soybeans in Brazil gaining speed.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's annual Outlook Forum on Thursday and Friday comes on the heels of the department's preliminary projections last week of unexpectedly higher corn and soybean seedings, which pressured prices for two days.
There is a nascent consensus among analysts that forecasts at the conference could be similar to the baseline projections, which estimated 92 million acres to be planted with corn -- the second-highest since World War Two -- and 78 million of soy.
If such expectations are borne out, consumers struggling with record-high global food prices will get some relief, as will policymakers fighting inflation in countries such as China and India -- powerhouses of demand for commodities.
"The forum will be the stand-out event," said grains analyst Don Roose of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa. "We'll also be watching the harvest in Brazil."
Brazil, the world's second-largest soybean grower and exporter after the United States, has begun drawing demand away from the United States. But more importantly, top buyer China has canceled some of its U.S. purchases.
Roose said he was expecting the USDA forum to forecast that corn will be planted on 92 million to 93 million acres in the United States and 78 million acres with soybeans.
This year, U.S. farmers planted 88.2 million acres with corn and 77.4 million acres with soybeans.
EYE ON ENDING STOCKS
Analysts said while acreage is expected to increase this year, the focus will remain on ending stocks, especially for corn, which is forecast at the lowest in 15 years.
They said large productions are critical in ensuring deleted stockpiles in the United States are rebuilt, adding that corn stocks should ideally be above 1 billion bushels.
"The carry-out outlook does not change very much," said grains analyst Charlie Sernatinger of ABN Amro in Chicago. "It looks that that issue has been kicked down the road."
He said forecasts were for corn to be planted in 92 million acres and soybeans in 78 million.
Darrel Good, an agricultural economist and professor emeritus with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said he would be surprised if the outlook forum forecast crop data that was much different from the preliminary projections.
"There is every motivation for the farmer to plant every acre of cropland this year. This means a sharp increase in double-cropping," he said, alluding to grain prices hovering around 2-1/2 year highs.
It is common practice for farmers who harvest their soft wheat in June to double-crop the land with soybeans.
He said the increase in grain acreage was a vital step toward boosting U.S. and global supplies and thereby cooling record-high food prices. Good said the other crucial factor would be for the weather to make it a good growing season.
Dale Durchholz, a grains analyst with AgriVisor in Bloomington, Illinois, said it was profitable to grow corn at current high prices both in cash and futures markets.
"This is a lucrative profit opportunity," he said. "The income potential the market is offering to people is just so huge that they will plant on land that they otherwise may not have planted," he said. "This might have a drop on yields."
Settlement prices for CBOT grains and oilseed complex:
LAST NET PCT YTD
CHG CHG CHG CBOT corn Cc1 709.75 -3.00 -0.4% 12.8% CBOT soy Sc1 1368.00 -36.50 -2.6% -1.8% CBOT meal SMc1 362.00 -10.70 -2.9% -2.2% CBOT soyoil BOc1 56.49 -1.76 -3.0% -2.2% CBOT wheat Wc1 822.25 -28.50 -3.4% 3.5% (Reporting by K.T. Arasu;editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid and Maureen Bavdek)