USDA's annual Acreage Report, released June 30, shows U.S. corn acreage planted for all purposes this year is estimated at 96.4 million acres, up from 91.9 million acres planted last year. That's 5% more corn acres than were planted in 2011 and represents the highest planted corn acreage in the United States since 1937 when an estimated 97.2 million acres were planted.
The June estimate of 96.4 million planted corn acres is higher than USDA's earlier estimate of 95.86 million acres made in March 2012. The March estimate was based on surveys of farmers' planting intentions. The June survey indicates growers nationwide expect to harvest 88.9 million acres of corn for grain this year, up 6% from last year.
Also nationally, the number of acres planted to soybeans in 2012 is up. It is estimated at 76.1 million acres, up 1% from the 74.98 million acres planted in 2011. This is the third highest soybean acreage on record for the U.S. and it is an increase from USDA's March 2012 estimate which was 73.9 million acres. Growers who were surveyed in June said they expect to harvest 75.3 million acres of soybeans this year, up 2% from harvested in 2011.
Iowa leads nation in number of acres planted to corn and to soybeans in 2012
The annual acreage report issued June 30 is the estimate of planted acreage, based on field surveys taken during early June by USDA's National Ag Statistics Service. The June survey updates USDA's March survey which estimated the acreage farmers said they intended to plant to major crops. Those earlier survey estimates were released in USDA's March Planting Intentions Report.
Iowa's planted corn acreage is estimated at 14.0 million in 2012, down from 14.1 million in 2011, and 600,000 lower than the March 2012 projection of 14.6 million acres. In addition to having the most planted corn acreage of all states, Iowa also leads all states in acres of soybeans this year. With 9.5 million acres planted to soybeans, that's up from 9.35 million acres in 2011 and is 700,000 acres higher than the 8.8 million acres projected for Iowa in March.
Iowa Soybean Association president Dean Coleman, who farms in northern Iowa at Humboldt, says farmers have obviously responded to the markets and planted more soybeans than anticipated in March. He adds, "Where the market goes in the short term will primarily be in response to the weather. It remains dry over half the state of Iowa and is extremely dry in areas south of Interstate 80 in the Corn Belt. But a lot of the growing season still remains."
USDA grain stocks report also issued June 30, says corn supplies are down
USDA also on June 30 said corn stocks stored in the nation's bins in early June 2012 totaled 3.15 billion bushels, down 14% from June 1, 2011. USDA said 2.87 billion bushels of corn were used between March and May, compared with 2.85 billion bushels during the same period last year.
The same USDA stocks in all positions report said soybeans in storage on June 1, 2012 totaled 667 million bushels, up 8% from June 1, 2011.
The USDA did not estimate the yield for the 2012 corn and soybean crops, which have been threatened by drought and hot weather that has settled over the Midwest. That projection will be issued July 12.
Record-breaking heat, dry conditions in much of lower Midwest is hurting crop
Corn prices have jumped more than $1.25 per bushel in the past two weeks on increasing concern that the hot weather on dry Corn Belt soils will hamper the pollination of a corn crop that was planted earlier than usual. Des Moines commodity broker Tomm Pfitzenmaier said, "the trade is estimating that close to 50% of the corn crop will be pollinating by the middle of next week, so we are really approaching a pivotal period."
Of course, if weather patterns change and it starts raining enough each week, with all of the corn acres farmers have planted in the U.S. this year, there is still a lot of potential to raise a decent size crop, but time is running out, he notes.
"Record-breaking heat and dry conditions in much of the lower Midwest has caused a significant drop in the overall condition for the U.S. corn and soybean crop, erasing a lot of the potential corn growers saw in spring as they planted their crops and looked forward to a season of plenty," says Gary Niemeyer, a grower from Illinois who is president of the National Corn Growers Association. "While higher corn acreage in 2012, which originally was meant to help moderate corn prices, may serve to help ensure demands are met, higher prices are expected into the future as many farmers are already seeing their crops dry up in southern Indiana, southern Illinois and much of Missouri."