WASHINGTON, March 31, 2017 – U.S. cotton farmers are planning to sow 12.2 million acres this year, up 21 percent from last year, driven by expectations of higher prices in 2017, USDA said today in a report based on a survey of growers. The estimate is also up from the 11.5 million planted acres the department predicted at its annual Outlook Forum in late February.

Projections for most other major crops, including corn, soybeans and wheat, hewed closely to the February estimates.

The estimate for corn plantings, for example, is 90 million acres, the same as predicted in February. That would be down 4 percent, or about 4 million acres, from last year. Compared with 2016, planted acreage for corn, the nation’s biggest crop, is expected to be down or unchanged in 38 of the 48 estimating states, according to the report, prepared by the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Soybean planted area for 2017 is estimated at a record 89.5 million acres, up 7 percent from last year, and up 1.5 million acres from the February forecast. Compared with 2016, planted acreage intentions are up or unchanged in 27 of the 31 estimating States.

All wheat planted area is estimated at 46.1 million acres, down 8 percent from 2016, but close to the 46 million predicted at the Outlook Forum. If realized, this would be the lowest total planted area for the U.S. since records began in 1919.

NASS says the estimates in today’s report were based on survey conducted in the first two weeks of March that includes a sample of some 83,000 farm operators. Data from operators was collected by mail, internet, telephone, or personal interview to obtain information on crop acreage intentions for the 2017 crop year.


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