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More crop acres in play for 2011

More crop acres in play for 2011

In a crops outlook report, a USDA economist said as much as 10 million more acres could move into crop production this year.

Corn, soybean, wheat and cotton prices are at the highest levels in years which implies there will be more crop acreage in 2011, according to Gerald Bange, chairman of the Agriculture Department’s World Agricultural Outlook Board.

In a crops outlook report delivered at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 92nd annual meeting, Bange said as much as 10 million more acres could move into crop production this year.

“We won’t know until we get the planting intentions report. It won’t be until June until we know for sure,” Bange said.

Strong prices and strong demand for cotton should mean more acreage will be devoted to that crop, according to Bange, but it is still uncertain what kind of increases are seen for corn and soybeans.

High prices and very low stocks for corn should mean more corn acreage in 2011, but Bange said indicators right now are actually pointing to more soybean acres.

“As farmers look to the future, they may be looking to soybeans,” Bange said. “That intrigues us a little bit because I think everybody is of the opinion that corn would be the favored crop as we move into 2011.”

One factor driving greater prospects for soybeans may be high fertilizer costs associated with corn production as well as greater weather risks for corn production, according to Bange.

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