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Planting report USDA says most corn since 1944

U.S. corn producers are expected to plant 90.5 million acres of corn this spring — the highest acreage in 63 years. According to USDA's March 30 Prospective Plantings report, the increases are coming at the expense of cotton and soybean acres, down 20 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

According to the report, from surveys taken during the first two weeks of March, corn acres would be at the highest level since 1944, when 95.5 million acres were planted. Expected acreage is up in nearly all states due to high corn prices.

Illinois farmers intend to plant a record high 12.9 million acres of corn this spring, up 1.6 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.

Mid-South corn acreage is expected to more than double last year's plantings, going from 1.38 million acres to 2.99 million acres. According to USDA, Mississippi will plant 950,000 acres to corn, compared to 340,000 acres last year; Arkansas will increase from 190,000 acres to 560,000 acres; Louisiana, from 300,000 acres to 700,000 acres; and Tennessee, from 550,000 acres to 780,000 acres.

Cotton plantings for 2007 are expected to total 12.1 million acres, 20 percent below last year. Upland acreage is expected to total 11.9 million acres, down 21 percent from last year and the lowest since 1989. Growers intend to decrease planted area in all states with the largest acreage declines in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Mississippi and Texas.

In Mid-South states, cotton acres are down close to 40 percent in Louisiana and Mississippi, 29 percent in Arkansas and 20 percent for Tennessee and Missouri.

Soybean producers intend to plant 67.1 million acres in 2007, down 11 percent from last year. If realized, this will be the lowest planted area since 1996. Acreage decreases are expected in all growing areas, except in New York and the Southeast.

Soybean plantings in Arkansas are expected to decline from 3.1 million acres to 2.9 million acres; Louisiana, from 870,000 acres to 630,000; Mississippi, from 1.67 million acres to 1.55 million acres; and Tennessee, from 1.16 million acres to 1.07 million acres.

Area intended for rice in 2007 is estimated at 2.64 million acres, down 7 percent from 2006 and down 22 percent from 2005. If realized, this will be the lowest planted acreage since 1987. Growers in Arkansas intend to plant 1.22 million acres, down 13 percent from last year. Other declines are expected in Mississippi, from 190,000 acres to 180,000 acres; and Missouri, from 216,000 acres to 191,000 acres. California rice acreage is expected to increase from 526,000 acres to 532,000; Louisiana is up, from 350,000 acres to 360,000 acres; and likewise Texas, from 150,000 acres to 160,000 acres.

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