According to USDA’s March 30 Prospective Plantings Report, farmers intend to plant 95.9 million acres of corn this spring for harvest in the fall. This is up 4 percent from last year and 9 percent higher than in 2010. If realized, this will be the highest planted acreage in the United States since 1937, when an estimated 97.2 million acres were planted. Soybean planted area for 2012 is estimated at 73.9 million acres, down 1 percent from last year and down 5 percent from 2010.
Compared with 2011, soybean planted area is down or unchanged across the Corn Belt and Great Plains with the exceptions of Illinois, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. All wheat planted area is estimated at 55.9 million acres, up 3 percent from 2011. The 2012 winter wheat planted area, at 41.7 million acres, is up 3 percent from last year but down 1 percent from the previous estimate. With the increase in corn acres and the fact that corn yields can be more than three times those of soybeans or wheat, grain transportation requirements will likely increase this year.