WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture in its March 31 Prospective Plantings report said growers intend to plant 4% fewer acres to sugar beets in 2014 than in 2013.

The intended 2014 planted area was forecast at 1,154,600 acres, down 43,500 acres, or about 4%, from 1,198,100 acres planted in 2013.

“Planted area is below the previous year in 4 of the 10 estimated states,” the U.S.D.A. said. Lower acreage was anticipated by most in the trade due to lower returns for growers on sugar beets last year and expected again this year.

Sugar beet planted area was forecast down 6% in top-producing Minnesota, down 4% in No. 2 North Dakota, down 5% in Idaho and down 54% in Oregon, which is the lowest producing state of the 10. Higher plantings were forecast in Colorado (up 6%), Montana (up 4%), Nebraska (up 4%) and Wyoming (up 1%). Acreage was expected to be unchanged in California and Michigan.