Plantings: Corn, wheat up, soybeans down

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — U.S. farmers intend to boost 2011 corn planted area by 5% and all wheat acreage by 8% but trim soybean area by 1% from 2010 levels, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its annual Prospective Plantings report.

Planted wheat area for harvest in 2011 was forecast at 58,021,000 acres, up 8% from 53,603,000 acres last year, the U.S.D.A. said.

Winter wheat area seeded in 2010 for harvest in 2011 was estimated at 41,229,000 acres, up 10% from 37,335,000 acres last year and up 1% from the January estimate of 40,990,000 acres.

Farmers intend to plant 2,365,000 acres of durum in 2011, down 8% from 2,570,000 acres last year, and 14,427,000 acres of spring wheat other than durum, up 5% from 13,698,000 acres in 2010. The spring wheat area includes 13.6 million acres of hard red spring wheat.

“Planted acreage (for spring wheat) is expected to be up in all producing states except Montana and South Dakota,” the U.S.D.A. said. “Growers in North Dakota, the leading other spring wheat growing state, intend to plant 700,000 more acres (11%) than last year.”

The U.S.D.A. all wheat planting intention number was above the trade average of 57.3 million acres, with other spring wheat above the trade estimate of 13.7 million acres, durum below the trade average of 2.6 million acres and winter wheat slightly above the trade forecast of 41.15 million acres. The report was called bearish for wheat futures prices.

Farmers indicated they intend to plant 92,178,000 acres of corn in 2011, up 5% from 88,192,000 acres in 2010 and up 7% from 86,382,000 acres in 2009.

“If realized, this will be the second highest planted acreage in the United States since 1944, behind only 93.5 million acres planted in 2007,” the U.S.D.A. said. “Planted acreage is expected to be up in most states compared to last year due to higher prices and grower expectations of better net returns with corn versus other commodities.”

The largest increase in corn area was expected in South Dakota where growers intend to plant an additional 850,000 acres, or 19%, followed by a gain of 500,000 acres, or 4%, in Iowa and 450,000 acres, or 22%, in North Dakota. The largest decrease was 150,000 acres, or 7%, in Texas, “due to an increase in cotton acreage,” the U.S.D.A. said.

The U.S.D.A. corn planting number was above the average trade expectation that was near 91.7 million acres, although the report still was called bullish for corn futures prices.

Growers intend to plant 76,609,000 acres of soybeans in 2011, down 1% from 77,404,000 acres in 2010 but still the third largest on record if realized. Declines of 100,000 acres or more were expected in Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, Kansas and Mississippi, the U.S.D.A. said, while the largest increases were expected in North Dakota (up 250,000 acres) and in Missouri (up 150,000 acres).

The U.S.D.A. soybean planting number was below the average trade estimate of 77 million acres and was called bullish for soybean futures prices.

With recent cotton prices the highest since the Civil War era, farmers across the south and Southwest responded with planting intentions of 12,565,500 acres, up 15% from 2010, with plantings in top-producing Texas expected to increase 548,000 acres, or 10%, from a year earlier. Acreage was expected to increase in all cotton growing states, the U.S.D.A. said.

Intended area planted to rice in 2010 was estimated at 3,018,000 acres, down 17% from 2010 with area expected to fall in all states but California.

Planting intentions for oats totaled 2,839,000 acres, down 10% from last year and the lowest on record if realized, the U.S.D.A. said.

Area planted to barley was projected at 2,952,000 acres, up 3% from 2010 but still the second smallest area on record after last year, the U.S.D.A. said.

Growers intend to plant 5,645,000 acres of grain sorghum, up 4% from 2010.

Peanut planted area was expected to total 1,237,000 acres, down 4% from 2010.

Sugar beet planting intentions were 1,187,100 acres, up 1% from 2010. Intended plantings decreased in Minnesota, Michigan, Wyoming, Oregon and California but increased in North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Colorado and Idaho, the U.S.D.A. said.

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