U.S. corn, wheat plantings up, soybeans down

by World Grain Staff
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — U.S. farmers intend to boost 2011 corn planted area by 5% and all wheat acreage by 8% but trim soybean area by 1% from 2010 levels, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in its annual Prospective Plantings report on March 31.

Planted wheat area for harvest in 2011 was forecast at 58,021,000 acres, up 8% from 53,603,000 acres last year, the USDA said.

Winter wheat area seeded in 2010 for harvest in 2011 was estimated at 41,229,000 acres, up 10% from 37,335,000 acres last year and up 1% from the January estimate of 40,990,000 acres.

Farmers intend to plant 2,365,000 acres of durum in 2011, down 8% from 2,570,000 acres last year, and 14,427,000 acres of spring wheat other than durum, up 5% from 13,698,000 acres in 2010. The spring wheat area includes 13.6 million acres of hard red spring wheat.

“Planted acreage (for spring wheat) is expected to be up in all producing states except Montana and South Dakota,” the USDA said. “Growers in North Dakota, the leading other spring wheat growing state, intend to plant 700,000 more acres (11%) than last year.”

The USDA all-wheat planting intention number was above the trade average of 57.3 million acres, with other spring wheat above the trade estimate of 13.7 million acres, durum below the trade average of 2.6 million acres and winter wheat slightly above the trade forecast of 41.15 million acres. The report was called bearish for wheat futures prices.

Farmers indicated they intend to plant 92,178,000 acres of corn in 2011, up 5% from 88,192,000 acres in 2010 and up 7% from 86,382,000 acres in 2009.

“If realized, this will be the second highest planted acreage in the U.S. since 1944, behind only 93.5 million acres planted in 2007,” the USDA said. “Planted acreage is expected to be up in most states compared to last year due to higher prices and grower expectations of better net returns with corn versus other commodities.”

The largest increase in corn area was expected in South Dakota where growers intend to plant an additional 850,000 acres, or 19%, followed by a gain of 500,000 acres, or 4%, in Iowa and 450,000 acres, or 22%, in North Dakota. The largest decrease was 150,000 acres, or 7%, in Texas, “due to an increase in cotton acreage,” the USDA said.

The USDA corn planting number was above the average trade expectation that was near 91.7 million acres, although the report still was called bullish for corn futures prices.

Growers intend to plant 76,609,000 acres of soybeans in 2011, down 1% from 77,404,000 acres in 2010 but still the third largest on record if realized. Declines of 100,000 acres or more were expected in Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio, Kansas and Mississippi, the USDA said, while the largest increases were expected in North Dakota (up 250,000 acres) and in Missouri (up 150,000 acres).

The USDA soybean planting number was below the average trade estimate of 77 million acres and was called bullish for soybean futures prices.

Planting intentions for oats totaled 2,839,000 acres, down 10% from last year and the lowest on record if realized, the USDA said.

Area planted to barley was projected at 2,952,000 acres, up 3% from 2010 but still the second smallest area on record after last year, the USDA said.

Growers intend to plant 5,645,000 acres of grain sorghum, up 4% from 2010.
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