U.S. farmers intend to plant 95.9 million acres of land with corn this spring for harvest this fall, the highest acreage dedicated to corn production since 1937. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) March Prospective Plantings Report indicates that this year’s corn planting figure is 4 percent greater than last year and 9 percent more than in 2010.
The report also shows that U.S. farmers intend to plant an estimated 55.9 million acres of all wheat crops this year, 3 percent more than in 2011. The 2012 winter wheat planted area, at 41.7 million acres, is up 3 percent from last year but down 1 percent from the previous estimate.
U.S. farmland planted with soybeans for 2012 is estimated at 73.9 million acres, down 1 percent from last year and down 5 percent from 2010. Compared with 2011, soybean planted acreage is down or unchanged across the Corn Belt and Great Plains with the exceptions of Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin
With the increase in corn acres and the fact that corn yields can be more than three times those of soybeans or wheat, grain transportation requirements will likely increase this year. Additionally, expectations about crop size and quality may encourage grain traders to move existing stocks early to clear the way for the fall harvest.