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Farmers plan on planting 15 percent more corn

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

simmet@agrinews.com

WASHINGTON — Farmers plan on 15 percent more corn acres in 2007, according to the Prospective Plantings report released Friday by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Producers intend to plant 90.5 million acres of corn, the most acres since 1944 and 12.1 million acres more than in 2006.

Expected corn acres are up in nearly every state, due to favorable prices fueled by increased demand from ethanol producers as well as strong export sales, the report said.

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Iowa farmers intend to plant 13.9 million acres of corn, up 1.3 million acres or 10.3 percent from 2006. Iowa is the largest corn acreage state. The 1.3 million acre increase ties for the fifth largest year-to-year increase, according to USDA, NASS Iowa Field Office.

Iowa producers intend to plant 9.2 million acres of soybeans, down 950,000 acres from 2006. It would be the smallest soybean average since 1994 and would be the largest ever year-to-year drop in soybean acres.

Iowa farmers intend to plant 140,000 acres of oats, down 70,000 acres from last year. Hay acres at 1.4 million are down 100,000 from last year.

Corn growers in Minnesota intend to plant an estimated 7.9 million acres, up 8 percent from last year. If realized, corn planted would be 3 percent above the record level of 7.7 million acres in 1981, according to USDA, NASS Minnesota Field Office.

Minnesota soybean growers intend to plant an estimated 6.7 million acres, down 9 percent from the planted acreage in 2006. The record high was set in 2003 with 7.5 million acres planted.

Illinois farmers intend to plant 12.9 million corn acres this spring, up 1.6 million, or 14.2 percent, from 2006. Record-high corn acreage is expected in North Dakota, California and Idaho.

The increase in intended corn acres is offset by a decrease in soybean acres in the Corn Belt and Great Plains, as well as fewer expected acres of corn and rice in the Delta and Southeast. U.S. farmers intend to plant 67.1 million acres of soybeans, the lowest total since 1996 and a decrease of 8.4 million acres or 11 percent from 2006.

Wheat acres are expected to increase 5 percent from 2006 to 60.3 million. Other crops with expected acreage increases are sorghum, up 9 percent, canola, up 12 percent, and barley, up 7 percent.

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The Prospective Plantings report provides the first official estimates of U.S. farmers’ planting intentions for 2007. NASS’s acreage estimates are based on surveys conducted during the first two weeks of March from a sample of more than 86,000 farm operators across the country. In Iowa nearly 2,000 farmers were surveyed between Feb. 26 and March 15.

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