Ethanol Demand Drives Planting Intentions

Cindy Zimmerman

As expected, the USDA Prospective Plantings report out Friday morning showed that farmers expect to make a dramatic shift to corn acreage, and away from cotton and soybeans. The main reason – increased demand and higher prices of crops used for bio-fuels.

According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, corn growers intend to plant 90.5 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2007, up 15 percent from 2006 and 11 percent higher than 2005. If realized this would be the highest acreage since 1944. Illinois farmers intend to plant a record high 12.9 million acres of corn this spring, up 1.60 million acres from last year. North Dakota and Minnesota growers also expect to plant record high corn acres, up 910,000 and 600,000 acres, respectively.

Soybean producers intend to plant 67.1 million acres in 2007, down 11 percent from last year. However, area planted to soybeans is expected to increase in the Southeast, with Georgia expecting the largest increase from last year at 95,000 acres.

All cotton plantings for 2007 are expected to total 12.1 million acres, 20 percent below last year. Growers intend to decrease planted area in all States with the largest acreage declines in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Texas.

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