WASHINGTON — U.S. farmers intend to increase plantings of spring wheat, corn and soybeans from 2009, with soybean area expected record high for the second consecutive year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its annual Prospective Plantings report last week. Planted area for rice and peanuts also was expected to increase, while smaller area was forecast for all wheat, oats, barley and sugar beets.

All wheat planted area was forecast at 53.827 million acres in 2010, down 9% from 2009 and down 15% from 2008 as larger spring wheat area was more than offset by lower winter and durum area.

Winter wheat plantings were estimated at 37.698 million acres, down 13% from a year ago but up 2% from the January U.S.D.A. Winter Wheat Seedings report. Of the total, about 28.3 million acres were hard red winter (down 8% from 2009), 6 million acres were soft red winter (down 28%) and 3.4 million acres were white winter (down 7%), the U.S.D.A. said.

“This is the lowest U.S. (winter wheat) total since 1970 and record lows are estimated in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio,” the U.S.D.A. said.

Durum seedings were forecast at 2.223 million acres, down 13% from 2009 and down 18% from two years ago.

Area intended for spring other than durum was forecast at 13.906 million acres, up 5% from 2009 but down 2% from 2008, the U.S.D.A. said. Spring area included about 13.3 million acres of hard red spring, the U.S.D.A. said.

Intended area for corn was 88.798 million acres, up 3% from both 2009 and 2008 and the second largest since 1946 after the 2007 crop of 93.527 million acres.

“Expected (corn) acreage is up in many states due to reduced winter wheat acreage and expectations of improved net returns,” the U.S.D.A. said. “Acreage increases of 300,000 or more are expected in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Ohio. The largest decreases are expected in Iowa, down 200,000 acres, and Texas, down 150,000 acres.”

Farmers intend to plant a record 78.098 million acres of soybeans in 2010, up about 1% from 2009, the previous record, and up 3% from two years prior.

“Compared with last year, increases in (soybean) planted area are expected across the Great Plains and most of the Corn Belt,” the U.S.D.A. said. “The largest increases are expected in Iowa and Kansas, up 300,000 and 400,000 acres from last year, respectively. If intentions are realized, the planted acreage in Kansas, North Dakota and Pennsylvania will be the largest on record. Planted area is expected to decline from last year or remain the same across the Delta and Southeastern states. The largest decreases are expected in Georgia and North Carolina, both 150,000 acres less than 2009.”

The U.S.D.A. other spring wheat number was above the average of analysts’ pre-report trade expectations, but U.S.D.A. estimates for durum, corn and soybeans were below the averages. The neutral to friendly plantings data was overshadowed by bearish March 1 grains stocks estimates in the U.S.D.A.’s quarterly Grain Stocks report, and wheat, corn and soybean futures trading sharply lower after the reports March 31.

Area intended for grain sorghum was estimated at 6.360 million acres, down 4% from a year earlier.

Intended area planted to rice in 2010 was estimated at 3.411 million acres, up 9% from 3.135 million acres in 2009.

“Acreage in all rice-producing states is expected to increase from the previous year, mainly due to the higher price of rice compared to other commodities such as corn and soybeans,” the U.S.D.A. said.

Planting intentions for oats totaled 3.364 million acres, down 1% from last year and the second lowest on record if realized, the U.S.D.A. said.

Area planted to barley was projected at 3.273 million acres, down 8% from 2009 and the lowest on record if realized.

Peanut planted area was expected to total 1.201 million acres, up 8% from 2009. Peanut area in the Southwest was expected to lose acres to cotton, the U.S.D.A. said, while increased plantings were expected in the Southeast because of higher contracted peanut prices.

Sugar beet planting intentions were 1,174,200 acres, down 1% from 2009. Smaller area was expected in California, Colorado (down 15%), Minnesota (down 4%) and Nebraska (down 13%), but expected increases were 1% in North Dakota, 3% in Idaho and 7% in Michigan. California planted area was expected to drop for the sixth consecutive year and would be record low if realized, the U.S.D.A. said.