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Crops

Corn acreage down, soybeans up as NASS releases 2009 expected plantings

Written by Christy Hemken
    After completing and analyzing the planting plans of 86,000 U.S. farmers in early March the National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) released their 2009 Prospective Plantings report March 31.
    According to the report, the total area planted to corn and soybeans nationwide will hold steady in 2009 but the area planted to principal crops will decline by nearly 7.8 million acres, or 2.4 percent, from last year.
    Corn
    NASS says growers plan to plant 85 million acres of corn, down one percent from last year and down nine percent from 2007. While lower corn prices and unstable input costs may have slowed corn planting somewhat, this is still expected to be the third-largest acreage since 1949, behind 2007 and 2008.
    Expected acreage is down from last year in many states, but producers in the 10 major corn producing states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin) collectively intend to plant 66.3 million acres, up slightly from the 66.1 million acres planted in 2008.
    Corn acreage in Wyoming is estimated at 80,000 acres in 2009, 84 percent of last year’s 95,000 acres.
Soybeans
    Farmers indicated their intention to plant 76 million acres to soybeans in 2009. If realized, this would be the largest planted area on record, just ahead of the 75.5 million acres planted last year. Increases of 100,000 acres or more are expected in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina and North Dakota.
    According to Reuters, speculation that U.S. farmers could plant less corn and more soybeans this spring has some analysts predicting corn prices as high as five dollars a bushel at some point during 2009. They forecast record soybean plantings as high as farmers shift away from the higher planting costs of corn.
    Analytical firm Informa Economics shocked traders mid-March with their forecast of U.S. corn seedings at only 81.4 million acres. Dan Basse, president of Chicago consultancy AgResource, forecast Chicago Board of Trade corn prices will trade in the $3.50 to $5 a bushel range this season. Analyst Bill Lapp, president of Advanced Solutions Economics, projected corn prices at $5 a bushel by year-end, Reuters reports.
    However, Reuters also quoted Jim Borel, who oversees DuPont Co’s Pioneer Hi-Bred unit, as saying U.S. corn seed sales have been ahead of the previous season for the last few months.
Wheat
    National wheat acreage is expected to decline seven percent to 58.6 million acres. All wheat planted area is estimated at 58.6 million acres, down seven percent from 2008. The 2009 winter wheat planted area, at 42.9 million acres, is seven percent below last year but up two percent from the previous estimate.
    Of this total, about 30.9 million acres are hard red winter, 8.38 million acres are soft red winter, and 3.65 million acres are white winter. Area planted to other spring wheat for 2009 is expected to total 13.3 million acres, down six percent from 2008. Of this total, about 12.7 million acres are hard red spring wheat. The expected Durum planted area for 2009 is 2.45 million acres, down 10 percent from the previous year.
    In Wyoming, wheat production is expected to decline five percent from 2008, from 163,000 acres to 155,000. However, winter wheat is up three percent in Wyoming, while it’s down seven percent nationwide from 2008.
Hay
    Wyoming’s 2009 hay production is estimated at 107 percent of 2008 at 1.1 million acres, up from 1.03 million. Hay production in the U.S. in 2008 was just over 60 million acres, remaining steady this year at 6.02 million.
Oats
    Oats in Wyoming are estimated to increase to 133 percent of 2008’s crop, moving from 30,000 acres to 40,000 acres in 2009.
    Growers intend to plant an estimated 3.4 million acres of oats in 2009, up six percent from the 3.22 million acres planted in 2008. According to NASS, most of the increase in acreage is expected to be in the Great Plains states, with the largest acreage increase in Iowa, where growers intend to plant 200,000 acres, 50,000 more than last year. Acreage intentions increased or remained unchanged in all but eight of the estimating States.
Barley
    In Wyoming producers report barley production will decline from 90,000 acres in 2008 to 65,000 acres in 2009, 72 percent, while the U.S. sits at an expected 93 percent of last year. “Growers intend to plant 3.95 million acres for 2009, down seven percent from last year. If realized, this will be the third lowest barley planted acreage on record,” says NASS.
    Growers in California, Minnesota, New York, Washington and Wyoming intend to decrease their acreage by 20 percent or more. Planted acreage is expected to decline to record low levels in California, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Utah. Oregon expects to match its lowest acreage on record.
Sugarbeets
    Statistically, Wyoming remains even with 2008’s sugarbeet production. U.S. production is up six percent. “Area planted to sugarbeets for the 2009 crop year is expected to total 1.15 million acres, six percent higher than the 2008 planted acreage. Intended plantings increased from last year in all states except California, where producers intend to plant only 25,000 acres. If realized, this will establish a new record low for the fifth straight year in California,” notes NASS.
Dry beans
    Dry bean production is reported up eight percent in 2008 in Wyoming. Nationwide it’s up eight percent and acreage increases are expected in 11 of 17 dry beans states. North Dakota, the largest producing state, intended to plant 660,000 acres, unchanged from last year.
    “Although planted acres are expected to increase in California, growers are concerned about reductions in irrigation water. Dry conditions in Texas have dry bean farmers worried about an increase in failed acres,” says NASS. “In Wyoming, topsoil moisture levels were rated 64 percent adequate or better, five points above last year and 17 points above the five-year average.”
Canola
    Canola is estimated to dip to 85 percent of 2008’s production nationwide.
    NASS will publish data on actual planted area in the Acreage report, released June 30 at 8:30 a.m. EDT. All NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov. Article compiled by Christy Hemken from the NASS Prospective Plantings report and other sources.