|Corn and soybean plantings.|
The rising costs of fuel and fertilizer are leading US farmers to switch from corn to less input-intensive crops such as soybeans in 2006, according to the Prospective Plantings report recently released by the US Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Dry conditions also contributed to lower corn planting intentions in the southern Great Plains.
Farmers plan to plant 78 million acres of corn in 2006, down 5% from 2005. They intend to plant a record-high 76.9 million acres of soybeans, up 7%.
Expected corn acreage is down in most states, the NASS report shows. Illinois expects the largest decline with 700,000 fewer acres, a 6% drop from last year’s record level. The only states showing increases from last year are North Dakota, Arizona and Utah, while Minnesota remains unchanged from a year ago.
For soybeans, NASS reports expected acreage increases in all growing areas except the Atlantic Coast and in the southern Great Plains. The largest increase is in North Dakota, with a 41% jump to a record-high 4.15 million acres. Significant growth in soybean acreage is also expected across the Corn Belt, including Illinois, with a 6% increase to 10.1 million acres, and Indiana, with a 9% jump to 5.9 million acres.
The Prospective Plantings report provides the first official estimates of US farmers’ planting intentions for 2006. NASS’ acreage estimates are based on surveys conducted during the first two weeks of March among a sample of more than 87,000 farm operators across the United States.
Corn prices rose while soybean prices declined following the report’s release on 31 March 2006.