UNCERTAINTY TO CONTINUE
acreage of non-hay crops declined by 7.054 million acres in
2001. Including harvested acreage of hay, area declined by 3.397
million acres in 2001. Since the USDA only provides an estimate
for harvested acreage of hay, not planted acreage, it is not
clear by what amount total crop land acreage changed in 2001.
That is, harvested acreage of hay can vary by more or less than
the area planted to hay, depending on weather conditions.
the decline in acreage in 2001 was attributed to prevented plantings
in areas that experienced a very wet spring, primarily in the
upper midwest and northern plains states. As a result, we expected
total crop land acreage to rebound by 2 to 3 million acres in
2002. The USDA's March Prospective Plantings report provides
the first indication of farmer planting intentions, but does
not include estimates for all crops (some minor oilseeds, edible
legumes, potatoes, etc. are not included). In 2001, for example,
the report included 98.6 percent of all crop land actually planted.
The report released on March 28, 2002 indicates that planted
acreage of non-hay crops will increase by only 309,000 acres
in 2002. Including harvested acreage of hay, crop land area
is expected to increased by 541,000 acres. The reasons for the
permanent decline in crop land acreage are not completely know,
but likely include expanded acreage in conservation programs
and idling of low yielding land due to low returns.
Plantings report reveals intentions to increase planted area
of corn by nearly 3.3 million acres, to reduce sorghum area
by 1.237 million acres, to reduce wheat area by 613,000 acres,
to reduce soybean area by 1.139 million acres, and to reduce
cotton area by 1.017 million acres. Intentions for barley and
oats are up by 111,000 acres, and 726,000 acres, respectively.
Those 7 crops accounted for 95.3 percent of all of the non-hay
crop land included in the March report.
million acre increase in intentions for corn area follows a
decline of 3.8 million in 2001. An increase in acreage is expected
in every major producing state except Colorado and Kansas. Acreage
is expected to remain below the area planted two years ago in
the western corn belt, but acreage is expected to be higher
in the eastern corn belt.
acreage of corn totals 79.047 million acres in 2002, as indicated
in the March report, acreage harvested for grain should be near
72.15 million acres, assuming a favorable growing season. At
that level of acreage, a trend yield in 2002 would produce a
crop in excess of 10 billion bushels. A crop of that size would
allow an increase in corn use during the 2002-03 marketing year
of about 275 million bushels (3 percent) without reducing year
ending stocks below 1.5 billion bushels.
may expect actual corn acreage to fall short of March intentions
because of a strong historical tendency for the final estimate
to be below March intentions. In addition, some intended corn
acreage may be planted to soybeans if the CCC loan rates remain
unchanged for the 2002 crop. Spring weather conditions, as well
as the level of corn prices, may also impact planted acreage
million acreage reduction intended for soybeans follows a reduction
of 161,000 acres in 2001. The largest changes in intended acreage
for 2002 are in North Dakota (+450,000 acres) and South Dakota
(-350,000 acres). Acreage is expected to be unchanged or lower
in all other major soybean producing states. The two year decline
of 1.3 million acres of soybeans is coming primarily in Arkansas
(500,000 acres), Mississippi (450,000 acres), Missouri (400,000
acres), and South Dakota (250,000 acres). Planting intentions
for 2002 reflect a two-year increase in Nebraska (250,000 acres)
and North Dakota (500,000 acres).
million acres of soybeans are planted in 2002, as indicated
in the March report, harvested acreage should be near 71.9 million
acres. At that level of harvested acreage, a trend yield in
2002 would produce a crop of about 2.876 billion bushels. A
crop of that size is about equal to the USDA's projection of
use during the current crop year, so that any expansion in market
size in 2002-03 would result in some decline in year ending
stocks. The market may be expecting soybean acreage to exceed
March intentions if the CCC loan rates remain unchanged for
the 2002 crop.
will monitor spring weather, CCC loan rate announcements, and
new crop corn prices to judge if final acreage might deviate
from March intentions. The USDA will provide an update on planted
acreage estimates at the end of June. In addition to revealing
any changes in crop mix, that report will provide another look
at total crop land acreage in 2002.
University of Illinois