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US Farmers to Increase Corn Acreage by 15% in 2007; Ethanol a Driver

Corn farmers in the US intend to plant 90.5 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2007, up 15% percent from 2006 and 11% higher than 2005, according to the just-released US Department of Agriculture’s annual Prospective Plantings report.

Corn plantings up, soybeans down. Click to enlarge.

If realized this would be the highest acreage since 1944, when 95.5 million acres were planted for all purposes.

High corn prices, spurred by the ethanol boom, are encouraging farmers to plant more acres to corn. The increase in intended corn acres is partially offset by lower expected acres of soybeans in the Corn Belt and Great Plains (down 11%) and fewer expected acres of cotton and rice in the Delta and Southeast.

Last year, US farmers planted 78.3 million acres of corn. The report represents planned crop levels, not what is actually planted. The USDA will release its first report on the number of acres actually planted this year in June.




Corn futures are trading lock limit down $.20/bshl. That means there's more selling to come Monday. The hand wringing liberals who fret about corn prices going up will never understand that these prices spell opportunity for poor people worldwide. Crop acreage will expand worldwide year after year until prices start going down far below current prices. And that willhappen since the US still has 30m acres in "setaside" acreage where farmers are paid not to produce. THose acres are coming off now and will continue to do so.

That said, my preferred form of ethanol is "Trash-to-Ethanol" which has been highlighted here and at MIT on, check it out. However in the meantime, as a bridge technology, corn ethanol is great for the economy and poor people alike.

The market works if you give it a chance.

Kit P.

A PTC for ethanol makes more sense to pay farmers not to grow crops.

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