U.S. farmers plant largest corn crop since 1937

WASHINGTON — U.S. farmers planted 96.4 million acres of corn, up 5 percent from last year, making it the highest corn acreage in the last 75 years, according to the acreage report released June 29 by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

This marks the fourth year in a row of increases in corn acreage in the United States.

Early start

Favorable field conditions across much of the major corn-producing region helped corn growers get off to a fast start in 2012. By May 20, the planting was nearly complete, representing the quickest planting pace on record.

Virtually all of the acreage had emerged by June 3.

Soybeans, wheat

U.S. soybean growers also reported a significant acreage increase this year. According to the report, 76.1 million acres have been planted to soybeans, up 1 percent from 2011.

This is the third-largest soybean acreage on record.

Just as with corn, the weather allowed soybean growers to get off to a quick start this year. By June 3, 94 percent of this year’s crop was planted, 30 percentage points ahead of last year’s pace. Nearly 80 percent of the crop had also emerged by that time, 40 points ahead of the 2011 pace.

A significant acreage increase was also reported for wheat, due to expectations of better net returns compared with last year.. The report showed that growers planted 56 million acres for all wheat, including spring, Durum and winter, a 3 percent increase from 2011.

Cotton down

Unlike the other major crops, cotton growers reported a decrease in acreage this year. According to the report, there are 12.6 million acres planted to cotton, down 14 percent from 2011.

Stocks report

NASS also released the quarterly Grain Stocks report, showing corn stocks down 14 percent from June 2011, soybean stocks up 8 percent and all wheat stocks down 14 percent.

With a total disappearance of 2.87 billion bushels between March and May of this year, this is the highest disappearance on record for corn during this quarter.

The soybean disappearance of 707 million bushels is also the second largest disappearance on record.

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