Time will tell: farmers say they plan on record soybean crop

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WASHINGTON — Right now it is only a plan, but if the plan becomes reality, farmers could be growing more soybeans this growing season.

U.S. farmers plan to plant a record-high 78.1 million acres to soybeans in 2010, according to the Prospective Plantings report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Total crops

NASS expects that total area planted to principal crops nationwide will hold steady at 319.5 million acres, after declining 5.7 percent in 2009.

Intended soybean acres are expected to increase 1 percent from last year, while corn planted area is expected to increase 3 percent to 88.8 million acres.

Ohio farmers intend to increase the amount of corn, soybean and hay acreage in 2010 while decreasing the winter wheat, oats, and tobacco acreage.

Pennsylvania farmers intend to plant more acres of oats and soybeans this spring and harvest more acres of tobacco this year than a year ago. Planting intentions for wheat are down from a year ago as are expected acres of dry hay harvested, according to the Pennsylvania field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Record corn planting?

If realized, this year would be the second-largest area planted in corn since 1949, just behind 2007.

Expected corn acreage is up in many states due to reduced winter wheat acreage and growers’ expectations of improved net returns. Increases of 300,000 or more corn acres are expected in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Ohio.

Ohio corn producers intend to plant 3.70 million acres this spring, up from 3.35 million acres last year.

Pennsylvania growers expect to increase their corn crops by at least 100,000 acres this season.

Record soybean planting?

This year could be the largest soybean crop ever planted in the United States if the planting occurs as planned. The report states tightening soybean supplies and lower input costs than corn have resulted in farmers intending to plant more soybeans this year.

The largest soybean acreage increases are expected in Kansas, up 400,000 acres, and Iowa, up 300,000. Increases of 100,000 or more acres are also expected in Illinois, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.

In Ohio, growers expect to increase the crop size by 100,000 acres. Ohio soybean acreage is forecast at 4.60 million acres for 2010, up 50,000 acres from last year.

Soybean acreage planting intentions in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania are 465,000 acres, 15,000 acres or 3 percent above the 450,000 acres planted last year and 7 percent above the 435,000 acres planted in 2008.

Oats

Another crop that had mixed planting reports is oats. In Ohio, the acreage is reported to be lower.

Ohio’s oat acreage decreased 5,000 acres from last year to 60,000 acres.

However, it is slightly higher than last year in Pennsylvania. Oat planting intended acreage is 115,000, up 5,000 acres or 5 percent from last year, and up 10,000 acres from 2008.

Barley

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania farmers are reporting they are planning on planting the same number of acres of barley as in 2009.

NASS estimates 2010 cotton plantings at 10.5 million acres, up 15 percent from last year.

Wheat crop

Wheat acreage is expected to decline 9 percent to 53.8 million acres, the smallest total area since 1970. The area planted to winter wheat is expected to be down 13 percent from last year.

Both Ohio and West Virginia expect lower wheat acreage this year along with Pennsylvania.

Winter wheat planted, at 170,000 acres in Pennsylvania, is down 20,000 acres or 11 percent from last year’s planted acres and down 13 percent from the 195,000 acres planted in 2008.

Hay crop

Ohio hay producers expect to harvest a total of 1.15 million acres, up 11 percent from the previous year. This includes alfalfa, grain, and all other types of hay.

Harvest intentions for all dry hay in 2010 in Pennsylvania are estimated at 1,500,000 acres, down 50,000 acres from last year’s harvest and 250,000 acres less than in 2008.

Data collection

Prospective plantings provides the first official, survey-based estimates of U.S. farmers’ planting intentions for 2010. NASS surveyed approximately 86,000 farm operators across the United States during the first two weeks of March.

Planted acreage report

NASS will publish data on actual planted area in the Acreage report, to be released June 30.

Grain in storage

NASS also released the quarterly Grain Stocks report March 31, showing corn stocks in all positions at 76.9 billion bushels as of March 1. This is the second-highest March 1 stocks level on record, after 1987. Soybeans stored in all positions on March 1 totaled 1.27 bushels, down 2 percent from a year ago, while all wheat stored totaled 1.35 billion bushels, up 30 percent from March 1, 2009.

Prospective plantings, grain stocks and all NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov.

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