By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, March 31 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its annual Prospective Plantings report this morning, showing U.S. farmers intend to plant 92.2 million acres of corn, 76.6 million acres of soybeans, 58 million acres of wheat this year and 12.5 million acres of cotton in 2011. 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 USDA Chief Economist, Joseph Glauber.

The corn acreage number is up 5% from last year and 7% higher than in 2009. If realized, this will be the second highest planted acreage in the United States since 1944, behind only the 93.5 million acres planted in 2007. Acreage increases of 250,000 or more are expected in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota. The largest decrease is expected in Texas, down 150,000 acres, where growers plan to plant an additional 548,000 acres of cotton.


Soybean planted area for 2011 is estimated at 76.6 million acres, down 1% from last year. If realized, the United States planted area will be the third largest on record. Compared with last year, planted acreage 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.


All wheat planted area is estimated at 58.0 million acres, up 8% from last year. The 2011 winter wheat planted area, at 41.2 million acres, is 10% above last year and up 1 percent from the previous estimate. Of this total, about 29.4 million acres are Hard Red Winter, 8.2 million acres are Soft Red Winter, and 3.7 million are White Winter. Area planted to other spring wheat for 2011 is estimated at 14.4 million acres, up 5% from 2010. Of this total, about 13.6 million acres are Hard Red Spring wheat. Durum planted area for 2011 is estimated at 2.37 million acres, down 8% from 2010.


Cotton plantings for 2011 are expected to total 12.6 million acres, 15% above last year. Upland acreage is expected to total 12.3 million acres, up 14% from 2010. American Pima acreage is expected to total 252,500 acres, up 24% from 2010. Cotton acreage increases are expected in every State. 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.


Based on this acreage estimate, corn yields would need to average 159.7 bushels per acre to maintain current carry-out levels.  To increase carry-out stocks to near one billion bushels, an average yield of 163.5 bushels per acre would be needed.  In 2009, American farmers set the all-time yield record at 164.7 bushels per acre.


USDA also released its report on grain stocks. Corn stocks in all positions stood at 6.52 billion bushels, down 15% from last year. Ethanol production through the first three months of the year has remained relatively steady at 900,000 barrels per day, or 13.78 billion gallons annualized, says Renewable Fuels Association Vice President of Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper.

“This morning's acreage estimate clearly shows that American farmers respond to signals from the marketplace.  There is every expectation that farmers will once again produce the corn that is needed to meet all demands,” adds Cooper.


Soybeans stored in all positions on March 1 totaled 1.25 billion bushels, down 2% from a year ago, while all wheat stored totaled 1.42 billion bushels, up 5 percent from March 1, 2010. Rough rice stocks in all positions on March 1, 2011 totaled 121 million hundredweight, up 16% from the same time last year.


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