Business, Finance & Economics

US farmers to plant largest corn crop in 75 years

corn-field-2012-03-30.jpg

Corn grows in a field near Roscoe, Ill.

Credit:

Scott Olson

This spring, US farmers expect to plant the largest crop of corn in 75 years, according to a US Department of Agriculture survey, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Farmers told the USDA they would plant 95.9 million acres of corn, 4 percent more than last year, the LA Times reported. Farmers in Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska will plant the most, at 10,000 acres in each state.

Farmers have been encouraged to plant more corn by robust corn prices and warm, dry weather, Bloomberg News reported.

"With the early spring and relatively high prices, we're going to get even more total crop area planted," Richard Feltes, a vice president of research for R.J. O'Brien & Associates, told Bloomberg News. "If April and May continue the above-normal temperature pattern, and precipitation will largely be normal to below normal, that's the perfect formula for rapid early planting and maxing out the total planted area."

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Farmers this year could end up harvesting 14.46 billion bushels of corn, which would replenish corn stockpiles, which fell 8 percent from March 2011, and cap food inflation, Bloomberg News reported.

According to Bloomberg News:

Global food costs rose to an all-time high in February 2011, spurring unrest in northern Africa and the Middle East.

“If these early planting projections are realized, it would translate into the largest feedgrain supply we have had in the last six or seven years,” American Farm Bureau Federation economist John Anderson told Farm Bureau News. “That should mean lower feed prices for livestock producers. And it would take some of the pressure off the ethanol sector, which is already close to hitting both its mandated level of production and the maximum gasoline blend rate

“This is a lot bigger number than the market had expected for corn,” he added. “But we still must remember it is very early, this is a prospective number only, and there is a long way to go to see how this crop ultimately turns out.”

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