The new planted acreage report from USDA shows more corn than most anyone expected, given the wet spring weather that delayed planting in many areas. According to USDA, corn planted area for this year is now estimated at 92.3 million acres, up 5 percent from last year. That’s more than growers expected to plant back in March and the second highest planted acreage in the United States since 1944.
“In light of the weather, many people seemed to be thinking that less corn would be planted,” said Lance Honig with USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. “In reality, what we saw was especially in some of those areas not impacted by weather, they really planted a lot more corn than they thought they might.”
Renewable Fuels Association VP of Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper said that, based on USDA’s latest projections of average corn yield (158.7 bushels/acre) and harvested acres (84.9 million), it would mean a 2011 harvest of 13.47 billion bushels – nearly 300 million more bushels of corn than USDA was projecting in its most recent supply/demand estimates. “The takeaway from this report is that U.S. farmers continue to apply the most efficient and effective technologies to produce record or near-record crops year in and year out,” he said.
Of course, it is still early in the season, and American Farm Bureau Federation crops economist Todd Davis says a lot can happen to the corn crop from now until harvest. “We have a lot of hurdles to jump to reach a harvest of 13.47 billion bushels of corn this year,” Davis said. “The weather throughout the Corn Belt will have to cooperate in July and August for farmers to get strong yields and we would have to harvest the 84.8 million acres projected in the June 30 acreage survey.”
USDA also released the June 1 corn stocks estimate today, which was also higher than expectations but still down 15% from last year at 3.67 billion bushels.