By STEVE BINDER
ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Banking on continued high prices, growers intend to plant about 1 percent more acreage for corn this spring compared to last year, according to the latest Farm Futures publication survey.
Released earlier this month in St. Louis, the survey results also showed growers plan to put in fewer soybeans, about 76.8 million acres compared to 77 million acres planted in 2012.
The first USDA planting intentions report won’t come out until late March. Farm Futures surveyed more than 1,550 growers about their planting intentions between Nov. 23-Dec. 12.
While the USDA final crop production report for 2012 showed corn numbers were up slightly compared to the agency’s last estimate in August, the overall corn harvest was down about 13 percent, to 10.8 billion bushels.
Nationally, corn was harvested at an average of 123.4 bushels per acre; in Illinois, it was a disappointing 105 bushels, the lowest corn yield in the state since 1988. The low harvest numbers are tied to last year’s drought, one of the worst in five decades.
“Based on our survey of more than 1,550 growers and the government’s own certified acreage data from the Farm Service Agency, it appears production should be (close to) previous estimates,” said Bryce Knorr, who conducted the survey research. “This makes good yields and large acreage crucial in 2013 to provide the corn needed by end users in the U.S. and around the world.”
Based on the survey, growers intend to put in approximately 97.75 million acres of corn in 2013, up slightly from the 2012 total.
“While the planting intentions we found were not as big as some predict, it was a substantial increase from our first survey in August, which projected 93 million acres,” said Paul Burgener, a market analyst for Farm Futures.
“The reality of another year with outstanding returns for corn convinced many growers to try more corn-on-corn, despite their long-term desire to return to more balanced rotations with soybeans.
“In August our survey showed farmers ready to splurge on soybeans, increasing 2013 plantings to 78 million acres,” he continued. “But soybeans were trading well over $16 a bushel at the time. With new-crop prices substantially lower, farmers are again focusing on total returns, giving corn the edge.”
Like corn, 2013 wheat numbers are up, according to the survey. Growers planted 42.1 million acres of winter wheat in the fall, up 1.8 percent, with total wheat seedings for 2013 projected at 57.16 million acres, up 2.5 percent.