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USDA releases planting intentions for 2011

With commodity prices significantly higher than last spring, U.S. farmers plan to plant 3.99 million (4.5%) more corn acres, 3.89 million (8.2%) more wheat acres, and 1.59 million (15%) cotton acres than last year according to the Prospective Plantings report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). In all, farmers reported intentions of planting 323.8 million acres across the 21 major crops surveyed for this report, a 7.09 million (2.2%) increase from 2010 but still 1.21 million acres below the 2008 total.

“Despite increased plantings for most major field crops as reported in today’s Prospective Plantings report, the March 1 Grain Stocks report indicates continued strong demand and usage for these commodities. This suggests the current tight supply situation will continue into 2011 and 2012,” said Joseph Glauber, USDA Chief Economist.

The largest increase in corn-planted acreage in 2011 is expected in South Dakota where growers intend to plant an additional 850,000 acres compared to last year when wet field conditions during planting prevented many from getting all of their intended acreage seeded. Iowa and North Dakota acreage is expected to increase 500,000 and 450,000 acres respectively. The largest decrease in planted acreage is expected in Texas, down 150,000 acres due to an increase in cotton acreage.

“Farmers have responded to market indicators and will plant more corn acres this year. We anticipated these planting numbers because farmers have invested in building demand and take a great interest in meeting the needs of their customers,” said Dwayne Siekman, Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) CEO.

The 2011 wheat planted area is estimated at 58.0 million acres. Of this, 41.2 million acres is winter wheat planted area, 10% above last year and up 1% from the previous estimate.

Cotton acreage increases are expected in every state, for a total of 12.6 million acres, 15% above last year. The largest increase, at 548,000 acres, is expected in Texas. Acreage increases of more than 100,000 acres are expected in North Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi.

Soybean acreage planting is expected to be 76.6 million acres, down 1% from last year, for the third largest on record. Compared with last year’s record planting intentions, declines of 100,000 acres or more are expected in Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska and Ohio. If realized, the planted area in New York and North Dakota will be the largest on record at 1.5 million and 4.35 acres respectively.

Prospective Plantings provides the first official, survey-based estimates of U.S. farmers’ 2011 planting intentions for corn, all wheat, winter wheat, durum wheat, other spring wheat, oats, barley, flaxseed, cotton, rice by length of grain classes, oats, all sorghum, sweet potatoes, dry edible beans, soybeans, sunflower, peanuts, and sugarbeets; acreage for harvest of hay and tobacco. NASS surveyed approximately 85,000 farm operators across the United States from Feb. 26 to March 17, 2011.

In Ohio, farmers intend to increase the amount of corn, winter wheat and hay acreage in 2011 while decreasing the soybean, oats, and tobacco acreage. Ohio corn producers intend to plant 3.70 million acres this spring, up from 3.45 million acres last year. Ohio soybean acreage is forecast at 4.40 million acres for 2011, down 200,000 acres from last year.

Winter wheat acreage for 2011 is estimated at 890,000 acres, up 110,000 acres from the previous year. The State’s oat acreage decreased 5,000 acres from last year to 60,000 acres.

Ohio hay producers expect to harvest a total of 1.17 million acres, up 5% from the previous year. This includes alfalfa, grain, and all other types of hay. Burley tobacco acreage is forecast at 1,800 acres in 2011, down 700 acres from 2010.

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