The Prospective Plantings report released today by the National Agricultural Statistics Service predicts that the total area planted to all principal crops will decline by nearly 7.8 million acres. Corn acres planned will be down 1 percent while soybean acres will rise to a new record.

Growers plan to plant 85 million acres of corn, down 1 percent from last year and down 9 percent from 2007. Lower corn prices and unstable input costs may have slowed corn planting somewhat, however this would be the third-largest acreage since 1949, behind 2007 and 2008.

Farmers said they intend to plant 76 million acres to soybeans in 2009. If realized, this would be the largest planted area on record. Increases of 100,000 acres or more are expected in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina and North Dakota. The largest decreases in soybean acres are expected in Missouri and South Dakota.

Wheat acreage is expected to decline 7 percent, to 58.6 million acres. Cotton plantings are also expected to be down 7 percent, to 8.8 million acres – the smallest area since 1983.

Nationwide, NASS expects the total area planted to principal crops to decline by approximately 7.8 million acres, or 2.4 percent, from last year. Included in this total are corn, sorghum, oats, barley, winter wheat, rye, durum wheat, other spring wheat, rice, soybeans, peanuts, sunflower, cotton, dry edible beans, potatoes, sugar beets, canola and proso millet, as well as harvested area for all hay, tobacco and sugar cane.

NASS surveyed approximately 86,000 farm operators across the United States during the first two weeks of March. All NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov.

NASS surveyed approximately 86,000 farm operators across the United States during the first two weeks of March.

Source: USDA