Intended plantings top expectations

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — U.S. farmers intend to plant more soybeans, other spring wheat and durum in 2008 than most analysts expected, but less corn, according to the Prospective Plantings report released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Intended corn plantings were projected at 86.014 million acres, down 8% from 93.6 million in 2007, the U.S.D.A. said. The average of analysts’ pre-report expectations was 87.4 million acres.

But projected soybean plantings of 74.793 million acres were up 17.5% from 63.631 million in 2007, the U.S.D.A. said. The number was above all industry pre-report expectations that averaged 71.5 million acres in a range of 70 million to 74.2 million.

Plantings of spring wheat other than durum were expected to be 14.333 million acres, up 8% from 13.297 million in 2007 and above the average analyst expectation of 14.1 million.

Durum wheat seeding intentions were 2.63 million acres, up 22% from 2.149 million in 2007 and also above the average expectation of 2.5 million.

Winter wheat area seeded last fall for harvest in 2008 was projected at 46.84 million acres, up 4% from 44.987 million a year ago and below the average expectation of 47 million.

All wheat seeded for harvest in 2008 was projected at 63.803 million acres, up 6% from 60.433 million last year and compared with analysts’ average expectation of 63.6 million.

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