USDA Projects Corn, Bean Acres Stay Steady

While overall planting of row crops is expected to decline by nearly 8 million acres, USDA anticipates the total area planted to corn and soybeans across the U.S. to hold steady in 2009, according to the Prospective Plantings report released March 30 by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Growers 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. The largest decreases in soybean acres are expected in Missouri and South Dakota, both down 150,000 acres from 2008.

Growers plan to plant 85 million acres of corn, down 1 percent from last year and down 9 percent from 2007. While lower corn prices and unstable input costs may have slowed corn planting somewhat, this would be the third-largest acreage since 1949, behind 2007 and 2008.

Wheat acreage is expected to decline 7 percent, to 58.6 million acres. Cotton plantings are also expected to be down 7 percent, to 8.8 million acres – the smallest area since 1983.

Nationwide, NASS expects the total area planted to principal crops to decline by approximately 7.8 million acres, or 2.4 percent, from last year. Included in this total are corn, sorghum, oats, barley, winter wheat, rye, durum wheat, other spring wheat, rice, soybeans, peanuts, sunflower, cotton, dry edible beans, potatoes, sugar beets, canola, and proso millet, as well as harvested area for all hay, tobacco, and sugar cane.

The Prospective Plantings report provides the first official survey-based estimate of U.S. growers’ planting intentions for 2009. NASS surveyed approximately 86,000 farm operators across the U.S. during the first two weeks of March.

NASS will publish data on actual planted area in the June 30 Acreage report. All NASS reports are available online at

So what does all this mean? Click here for analysis from two agricultural economists.

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