Record Corn Acreage Planned For Iowa

Record Corn Acreage Planned For Iowa

USDA March planting intentions survey indicates U.S. corn acres will be up 4% in 2012, soybeans down 1%. In Iowa, record corn acreage is expected.

U.S. farmers plan to plant 4% more corn acres in 2012 than were planted in 2011, according to USDA's annual Prospective Plantings report. If 95.9 million acres are planted to corn this year as the March survey suggests, it will be the highest corn acreage in the U.S. since 1937 when an estimated 97.2 million acres were planted. The 95.9 million acres would be 9% more corn acres than were planted in 2010. In Iowa a record 14.6 million acres of corn are intended to be planted this year.

Record Corn Acreage Planned For Iowa

Farmers intend to plant 73.9 million acres of soybeans nationwide in 2012, down 1% from last year and down 5% from 2010. That's likely to give further impetus to a rally in bean prices. In Iowa, soybean acres are expected to be down 6% from 2011.

This USDA report is based on surveys of farmers beginning around March 1, says Greg Thessen, director of the Iowa office of USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service in Des Moines. The data collection began February 28 and final interviews were completed March 19. The data was analyzed and the report was released March 30. In Iowa, the report is based on the voluntary responses from nearly 2,000 Iowa producers. "Actual plantings will depend greatly upon weather, economic conditions and availability of production inputs at the time farmers must make their final decisions," he notes.

If realized this will be largest planted acreage of corn on record for Iowa

If the March planting intentions are realized, Iowa will have the largest planted acreage of corn on record for the state in 2012, says Thessen. Here's a summary for Iowa.

Corn: As of March 1, Iowa farmers intend to plant 14.6 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2012. This is up 500,000 acres from 2011 and, if realized, would be Iowa's largest planted acreage on record. The previous record, at 14.4 million acres, was set in 1981.

Soybeans: Farmers in Iowa intend to plant 8.8 million acres of soybeans this year, down 6% from 2011. If realized this would be only the second time in 18 years Iowa farmers will plant less than 9 million acres of soybeans.

Oats: Farmers intend to plant 130,000 acres of oats for all purposes in 2012, up 10,000 acres from last year's record low. If realized, this would be the second smallest oat acreage on record for Iowa.

All Hay: Farmers in Iowa expect to harvest 1.15 million acres of hay for the 2012 crop year, up 10,000 acres from last year. If realized, this will be the second lowest in state history, trailing only the 1.14 million acres of all hay harvested last year.

Farmers are responding to market signals to expand corn production

Commenting on the USDA March planting intentions survey, Deb Keller of Clarion, chair of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, says "USDA's March planting intentions report is the first official indication that U.S. producers are responding to the market signals to expand their corn production."

It is important to note that the March intentions are just that, an intentions report and historically it could shift 15% as the planting season rolls on, she notes. In actual practice, the May 15 plantings report, which will be issued by the USDA, more closely correlates with the final acres planted. "Iowa farmers currently have a plan as to what they will be planting in their fields," says Keller. "The important thing to remember is that these planting intentions are dependent on what the weather is going to be like this spring and so far it has been ideal."

In Iowa, soybean planted acres in 2012 are projected down 6% from 2011

What about soybeans? How solid is the March acreage intentions survey for that crop?

Nationally, the USDA report projects soybean planting at 73.9 million acres in 2012, 99% of the 74.98 million acres in 2011, while corn is expected to be at 95.86 million acres, which is 104% of the 91.92 million acres planted to corn in 2011.

Iowa growers' intentions for planting soybeans are projected at 8.8 million acres, 94% of the 9.35 million acres planted to soybeans in Iowa in 2011. Record Iowa corn acreage is expected in Iowa, with a projected 14.6 million acres, which is 104% of the 14.1 million acres planted to corn in Iowa in 2011.

Iowa Soybean Association president Dean Coleman of Humboldt says, "We may end up seeing a shift to more bean acres planted in 2012 as this report will improve the corn/soybean ratio."

U.S. soybean exports expected to stay strong, bolstering price outlook

Having just returned from a trade mission to China and Thailand, Coleman and other ISA leaders expect Chinese demand for soybeans will continue to grow, driven by urbanization, and U.S. soybeans will take "a significant portion of a much larger market," according to ISA CEO Kirk Leeds.

For instance, Leeds says, "Chinese officials tell us they expect China's hog production industry will 'only' grow 5% in 2012. But they have 650 million hogs. A 5% increase would be 30 million hogs."

While China also imports soybeans from South American growers such as Brazil and Argentina, reports of this year's South American soybean production continue to decline as more land is harvested. Coleman concludes, "We will need more soybean acres, considering the drought in South America and the need to have the bushels available for our domestic and foreign partners." USDA will issue a report in late June showing actual plantings for corn and soybeans in 2012.

TAGS: Soybean USDA
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