The first USDA forecast of corn acreage to be planted this year may be eight percent less than last year, but its still the second-highest acreage intention since 1949, according to the National Corn Growers Association.
NCGA officials also point out that the anticipated 86 million acres of corn is still only an educated guess at this point, since almost no corn has yet been planted.
“We’re always cautious when we review the March projections, because they are made before any seeds really enter the ground,” said Ron Litterer, NCGA president. “The corn acreage projections also have a tendency to go up. Last year, for example, there was a difference of more than 3 million acres between the March estimate and the final number.” Litterer pointed out USDA’s March report has underestimated actual corn acres in the each of the last four years.
If farmers actually did plant according to the forecast, they could expect to harvest about 79 million acres. If the average trend yield of 155.5 bushels per acre is realized, corn producers would be on track to produce approximately 12.3 billion bushels in 2008 – the second-highest production ever.
“Based on what we’ve heard from our growers, and if the weather goes our way, we’re confident we will produce another good crop,” Litterer said. “We’re committed to meeting all needs – food, fuel, feed and fiber, and we are heartened by the trend toward higher yields that maximizes how much corn is produced per acre.”
A more accurate estimate of planted acreage can be expected from USDA at the end of June.