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March 29, 2013   Email to Friend 

Melissa Martin
(334) 612-5448
March 29, 2013

MONTGOMERY, Ala., March 29, 2013 — Alabama farmers will supplement decreasing cotton and peanut acreages this year with an increase of corn and soybeans, according to the state's National Agricultural Statistics Service March 1 Agricultural Survey.

Released March 28, the Crop Planting Intentions survey shows farmers intend to plant an additional 20,000 acres of corn this year, or 330,000 acres overall. Soybeans, at 410,000 acres, show an increase of 21 percent above the 340,000 acres planted in 2012. Meanwhile, farmers are expected to plant 360,000 acres of cotton, down 20,000 acres from 2012; and 150,000 acres of peanuts, down 70,000 acres from last year. 

Alabama Farmers Federation Cotton, Soybeans and Wheat & Feed Grains Director Buddy Adamson said prices are a driving factor behind planting changes.

“Continued favorable prices are expected to drive up corn and soybean acreage this year,” said Adamson. “Increased corn and soybean production could result in increased stocks to the point of reduced feed costs.  Another Midwest drought in 2013, however, could limit production, resulting in feed ingredient prices unfavorable to the livestock market.”

Though corn and soybean acreage has consistently increased the past three years, Adamson said it’s difficult to project if the trend will continue.

“For Alabama, the acreage of corn and soybeans will depend on their own prices relative to cotton and peanuts, as well as crop rotation and moisture availability during the respective planting season for each crop,” he explained.

Additional crop planting intentions for Alabama include:
• Winter Wheat — Up 18 percent from 2012 to 260,000 seeded acres
• Hay — Down 10,000 acres from 2012 to 850,000 harvested acres
• Oats — Down 10,000 acres from 2012 to 50,000 acres
• Sweet Potatoes — Down 200 acres from 2012 to 2,500 acres

On a national scale, a crop report issued March 28 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates America’s farmers are preparing to plant 97.3 million acres of corn, one of the largest crops in history, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). The forecast is on target with what grain industry analysts had expected.

“The forecast gives us an indication of what farmers intend to plant as of early March, but between now and fall harvest the influence of still-dry soils, volatile commodity prices and weather uncertainty will play out, which may change what farmers plant,” said AFBF crops economist Todd Davis.

According to Davis, if realized, this year’s corn planting would be the largest acreage since 1936, when 102 million acres were planted. The most recent modern era production year that comes close to this year’s corn planting outlook was 2012, when 97.1 million acres were planted. This year’s planting and a trend yield of 163.54 bushels per acre could result in a final U.S. corn yield of around 14.6 billion bushels.

For more information, visit nass.usda.gov.

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