Corn plantings up, soybeans, spring wheat down

by Ron Sterk
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WASHINGTON — Planted area for corn and durum in 2008 increased from March intentions, but area for soybeans and other spring wheat decreased, although June rains and floods will require follow-up surveys, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its Acreage report.

"Extensive rains and flooding during June caused producers in several Midwestern states to change their harvesting intentions for crops already planted, modify planting decisions for the small percentage of acres not yet planted and consider replanting options," the U.S.D.A. said. The department previously said it would conduct additional surveys to account for weather since much of the Acreage data was collected in early June before most of the rains and floods.

A limited follow-up survey in late June of 1,200 farmers in flood affected areas revealed producers intend to harvest 90.4% of potential planted acres for corn, down from 92.4% indicated in the original survey, and 96.8% of soybeans, down from 98.7%, the U.S.D.A. said.

Area planted to corn was estimated at 87,327,000 acres, up 1,313,000 acres, or 1.5%, from March intentions but down 6,273,000 acres, or 7%, from 93,600,000 acres in 2007, the U.S.D.A. said. Corn area for harvest was estimated at 78,940,000 acres, down 9% from 86,542,000 acres a year ago. If realized, it still would be the second most planted acres since 1946 and the second most harvested acres since 1944, behind only the 2007 crop, the U.S.D.A. said.

Soybean planted area was estimated at 74,533,000 acres, up 10,902,000 acres, or 17%, from 63,631,000 acres last year but down 260,000 acres from March intentions and 1% below record high 2006 plantings, the U.S.D.A. said. Area for harvest was estimated at 72,121,000 acres, up 15% from 62,820,000 acres in 2007.

Area seeded to spring wheat other than durum was estimated at 14,197,000 acres, down 136,000 acres, or 1%, from March intentions but up 7% from 13,297,000 acres in 2007. Area intended for harvest was estimated at 13,751,000 acres, up 6% from 12,947,000 acres in 2007. Of the total planted area, 13.4 million was hard red spring, the U.S.D.A. said.

Durum seeded area was estimated at 2,655,000 acres, up 25,000 acres, or 1%, from March and up 24% from 2,149,000 acres in 2007. Durum area for harvest was estimated at 2,583,000 acres, up 22% from 2,112,000 acres in 2007.

Winter wheat planted area was estimated at 46,605,000 acres, down 235,000 acres from 46,840,000 acres indicated in the June Crop Production report but up 4% from 44,987,000 acres last year. Harvested area was estimated at 40,252,000 acres, up 90,000 acres from 40,162,000 acres in June and up 4,300,000 acres, or 12%, from 35,952,000 acres in 2007. Of the total winter wheat area planted, 31.9 million acres were hard red winter, 11 million were soft red winter and 3.7 million were white winter.

"The area expected to be harvested for grain increased from the previous forecast in many of the soft red growing states," the U.S.D.A. said.

All wheat area was estimated at 63,457,000 acres, down 346,000 acres from March intentions but up 5% from 60,433,000 acres in 2007. Harvest area was estimated at 56,586,000 acres, up 11% from 51,011,000 acres a year ago.

Planted area for oats was estimated at 3,467,000 acres, down 8% from 3,760,000 acres in 2007 and record low, the U.S.D.A. said. Harvested area was estimated at 1,443,000 acres, down 4% from 1,505,000 acres in 2007.

Area planted to sugar beets was estimated at 1,080,100 acres, down 188,700 acres, or 15%, from 1,268,800 acres in 2007. Harvested area was estimated at 1,027,300 acres, down 219,500 acres, or 18%, from 1,246,800 acres the previous year. Planted area dropped in all states except Colorado.

Rice plantings were estimated at 2,895,000 acres, up 5% from 2,761,000 acres in 2007. Harvested area was estimated at 2,879,000 acres, also up 5% from 2007.

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