WASHINGTON — The National Agricultural Statistics Service of the US Department of Agriculture on March 31, in its annual Prospective Plantings report, indicated farmers intend to increase plantings of corn and soybeans this spring compared with a year ago. In the case of corn, farmers intend to plant the largest area since 2012.  

The USDA forecast corn seedings this spring at 96,990,000 acres, up 8% from 89,700,000 acres in 2019. The forecast was above the range of pre-report trade projections that topped off at about 96.4 million acres and averaged about 94.3 million acres.

If the USDA forecast is realized, the corn planted area in 2020 would be the second largest on record following 97,291,000 acres in 2012. The recent five-year average corn planted area was 90.2 million acres.

“Planted acreage for 2020 is expected to be up or unchanged from 2019 in 38 of 48 reporting states,” the USDA said. “Record high acreage is expected in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Oregon. Record low production is expected in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Acreage increases from last year of 800,000 or more acres are expected in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and South Dakota.”

Farmers intend to plant 83,510,000 acres to soybeans this spring, up 10% from 76,100,000 acres in 2019, the USDA said.

The forecast fell below the average of pre-report trade projections at around 84.9 million acres.

If the USDA forecast is realized, soybean plantings this year would be the third highest on record. The record planted area was 90,162,000 acres in 2017. The five-year average soybean planted area was 84.3 million acres.

“Compared with last year, planted acreage intentions are up or unchanged in 22 of 29 estimating states,” the USDA said. “Increases of 250,000 acres or more are anticipated in Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota.”

The USDA forecast oats seedings in 2020 at 3,012 million acres, up 7% from 2019.

“If realized, the US planted area will be the ninth lowest on record,” the USDA said. “Record-low planted acreage is expected in California and Oregon.”

The USDA said producers intend to plant 2,847,000 acres to all-rice, up 12% from 2019 but fewer than the 2,946,000 acres planted in 2018.

“Arkansas, the largest long grain producing state, is expected to increase long grain acres by 25% from the previous year,” the USDA said. “Compared with last year, medium grain acres are expected to decrease 3%, but short grain acres are expected to increase 21%. California, the largest medium and short grain-producing state, is expected to reduce medium grain planted area by 1% but increase short grain planted area by 21% in 2021.”