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Planting Intentions

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The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Statistics Service says, based on their interviews in late winter, growers intend to plant 1.42 million acres in 2012, up 25 percent from the previous year.

Strong demand and a decline in acreage over the last couple of years has left peanuts in short supply, indicating the need to increase production in 2012. Last year, producers decreased peanut acreage in many states in favor of other, higherpriced commodities.

For 2012, if plantings are realized, South Carolina will set a record for planting area, and Florida and Mississippi will be the highest planting area since 1951 and 1943, respectively.

Weather

chartThe winter of 2011-12 featured little in the way of sustained cold, and precipitation was considerably below normal across much of the United States, except for unexpectedly heavy December rain and snow in the Southwest and periods of mid- to late-winter storminess in the Northwest. Drier-than-normal conditions plagued parts of the Atlantic Coast States, which led to worsening drought across the lower Southeast.

According to preliminary information provided by the National Climatic Data Center, the meteorological winter of 2011-12 was overall mild and dry. In fact, it was the fourth warmest and twentieth driest winter on record.

Drought remains a concern across much of the Deep South.

Cotton

Growers intend to plant 13.2 million acres of cotton in 2012, down 11 percent from last year. Upland acreage is expected to total 12.9 million acres, down 11 percent from 2011. American Pima acreage is expected to total 270,000 acres, down 12 percent from 2011. Lower cotton prices and strong competition from other crops are the main factors for the decrease in cotton acreage.

Field preparation is taking place in the Southeast while planting is underway in southern Texas and Arizona. As of March 25, cotton planting in Texas was 9 percent complete. Heavy precipitation in the Delta Region has delayed fieldwork in some areas and eased the drought in Louisiana. A mild winter in some cotton growing areas has producers bracing for potentially higher-than-normal insect and weed pressure.

Soybeans

Growers intend to plant an estimated 73.9 million acres of soybeans in 2012, down 1 percent from last year and down 5 percent from 2010. Compared with last year, planted acreage intentions are down in many areas as some acreage is expected to shift to corn. Additionally, soybean acreage intentions in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas are down from 2011 due to drought conditions that have continued from last year into early March. If realized, the planted area in New York and North Dakota will be the largest on record and the planted area in Pennsylvania will tie the previous record.

Corn

Growers intend to plant 95.9 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2012, up 4 percent from last year and 9 percent higher than in 2010. If realized, this will represent the highest planted acreage in the United States since 1937 when an estimated 97.2 million acres were planted.

Planted acreage is expected to be up in most States compared to last year due to expectations of better net returns in 2012 compared to other commodities. Record corn acreage is expected in Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, while acreage is expected to decrease in the central and southern Great Plains, which experienced severe drought and above normal temperatures in 2011. PG

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