The U.S. Department of Agriculture in its 2012 Acreage report issued June 29 raised its estimates for wheat, corn and soybean plantings this year from its March forecasts, which were based on growers’ spring planting intentions. The soybean plantings estimate saw the widest increase.
The U.S.D.A. estimated the area planted to soybeans this year at 76,080,000 acres, up 2,178,000 acres, or 3%, from the March forecast of 73,902,000 acres and up 1,104,000 acres, or 1%, from 74,976,000 acres in 2011. It was the third-largest soybean area planted in the United States. A factor in the larger soybean area estimate was an increase in double-cropping, with more soybeans planted after the winter wheat harvest in southern states than earlier expected. The early wheat harvest increased the opportunity for double-cropping this year, and high prices provided the incentive. The U.S.D.A. estimated 7% of the soybean area this year was planted following another crop’s harvest compared with 6% in 2011 and 3% in 2010.
The U.S.D.A. estimated the area planted to corn this year at 96,405,000 acres, up 541,000 acres from the March forecast of 95,864,000 acres and up 4,484,000 acres, or 5%, from 91,921,000 acres as the 2011 planted area. It was the largest area planted to corn in the United States since 1937.
Wheat planted for harvest this year was estimated at 56,017,000 acres, up 109,000 acres from the March forecast and up 1,608,000 acres, or 3%, from 54,409,000 acres in 2011. Winter wheat plantings were estimated at 41,819,000 acres compared with 41,709,000 acres as the March estimate and up 1,173,000 acres, or 3%, from 40,646,000 acres a year ago. Of the winter wheat area for 2012, 30 million acres were hard red winter wheat, 8.3 million acres were soft red winter wheat and 3.5 million acres were white winter wheat. Plantings of spring wheat other than durum were estimated at 11,995,000 acres, up 19,000 acres from the March forecast but down 339,000 acres, or 3%, from 12,394,000 acres in 2011. Of the other-spring wheat area, 11.4 million acres were hard red spring wheat. Durum plantings were estimated at 2,203,000 acres, down 20,000 acres from the March forecast but up 834,000 acres, or 61%, from 1,369,000 acres in 2011.