June 30: Despite weather challenges at key planting times, U.S. corn growers planted 2 million more acres this season than previously expected, USDA reported today. In its annual report on planted acres, USDA estimated 87 million acres planted in corn and projects a harvest of 80.1 million acres. Once again, our nation’s corn farmers are showing their resilience, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) said.

“We’re excited not just to see this report on acreage, which was much larger than we expected to see given planting conditions, but to see also that crop condition is far superior to 2008,” said NCGA President Bob Dickey. “When the weather warmed up in several key states and the fields dried out, wheels were rolling and we were able to get a good crop in the ground. It’s an exciting time for growers, and we’re looking forward to a great year where we can meet all needs for food, feed, fuel and fiber.”

In Monday’s report on crop condition, the USDA reported that 72% of the U.S. corn crop was in good or excellent condition, compared to 61% in 2008. And while the acreage report does not discuss expected corn yields, the June estimate of 153.4 bu./acre can mean a production of nearly 12.3 billion bushels, the second-highest harvest ever.

The top 10 states in terms of corn acreage planted are: Iowa, 13.7 million; Illinois, 12.3 million; Nebraska, 9.4 million; Minnesota, 7.7 million; Indiana, 5.7 million; South Dakota, 5 million; Kansas, 3.8 million; Wisconsin, 3.75 million; Ohio, 3.4 million; and Missouri, 3.1 million.

Also today, the USDA reported that corn stocks in all positions on March 1 totaled 6.96 billion bushels, up 1% from March 1, 2008. Of the total stocks, 4.09 billion bushels are stored on farms, up 8% from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 2.87 billion bushels, are down 7% from a year ago. The December 2008 - February 2009 indicated disappearance is 3.12 billion bushels, compared with 3.42 billion bushels during the same period last year.

In its acreage report, the USDA also stated that:

• Soybean planted area for 2009 is estimated at a record high 77.5 million acres, up 2% from last year. Area for harvest, at 76.5 million acres, is up 3% from 2008, and will be the largest harvested area on record, if realized.

• All wheat planted area is estimated at 59.8 million acres, down 5% from 2008. The 2009 winter wheat planted area, at 43.4 million acres, is 6% below last year but up 1% from the previous estimate.