Record corn acreage is expected in Arizona, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, and Oregon. Iowa, the nation’s leading corn producer, will plant an estimated 14.2 million acres in corn, the same as last year. And Minnesota is up 3 percent to 9 million acres.
But the states that suffered significantly during last year’s drought — the worst since the 1950s — expect to plant slightly less corn acreage: Illinois’ acres are down 5 percent to 12.2 million and Nebraska corn acres are down 1 percent at 9.9 million acres.
The USDA report addressed other crops, too, including soybeans. Farmers plan to plant 77.1 million acres — a small decline from 2012’s 77.2 million acres but still the fourth highest on record.
Compared with last year, soybean acreage intentions are down across all of the Great Plains, with the exception of North Dakota, as drought conditions have persisted. However, increases in planted area across most of the eastern Corn Belt and parts of the Southeast nearly balance out the plains’ declines.
If the estimates come to fruition, the planted soybean areas in New York, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania will be the largest on record. Iowa soybean acres are expected to rise 1 percent to 9.4 million acres, while Illinois is up 4 percent to 9.4 million. Nebraska is expected to see soybeans acres fall about 6 percent to 4.7 million.
Darrel Good, an agriculture economics professor at the University of Illinois, said with plenty of land available for planting, the weather now becomes a focal point.
The U.S. Drought Monitor’s weekly report said Thursday that roughly half of the continental U.S. remains in some form of drought, with the most pronounced dryness lingering in the key Midwestern farm states.