U.S. corn producers are expected to plant 90.5 million acres of corn this spring — the highest acreage planted in 63 years. According to USDA’s March 30 Prospective Plantings report, released this morning, the increases are coming at the expense of cotton and soybean acres, down 20 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

According to the report, from surveys taken during the first two weeks of March, corn acres would be at the highest level since 1944, when 95.5 million acres were planted. Expected acreage is up in nearly all states due to high corn prices.

Illinois farmers intend to plant a record high 12.9 million acres of corn this spring, up 1.6 million acres from last year. North Dakota and Minnesota growers also expect to plant record high corn acres, up 910,000 and 600,000 acres, respectively.

Cotton plantings for 2007 are expected to total 12.1 million acres, 20 percent below last year.

Upland acreage is expected to total 11.9 million acres, down 21 percent from last year and the lowest since 1989. Growers intend to decrease planted area in all states with the largest acreage declines in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Mississippi and Texas.

American-Pima cotton growers intend to decrease their plantings by 10 percent from 2006, to 292,000 acres. California producers expect to plant 250,000 acres, down 9 percent from last year’s record high.

In Mid-South states, cotton acres are down close to 40 percent in Louisiana and Mississippi, 29 percent in Arkansas and 20 percent for Tennessee and Missouri.

Soybean producers intend to plant 67.1 million acres in 2007, down 11 percent from last year. If realized, this will be the lowest planted area since 1996. Acreage decreases are expected in all growing areas, except in New York and the Southeast.

Large decreases in soybean acreage are expected across the Corn Belt, with the largest decline expected in Illinois, down 1.4 million acres from 2006. However, area planted to soybeans is expected to increase in the Southeast, with Georgia expecting the largest increase from last year at 95,000 acres. Planted acreage in New York is expected to be the largest on record at 210,000 acres.

Area intended for rice in 2007 is estimated at 2.64 million acres, down 7 percent from 2006 and down 22 percent from 2005. If realized, this will be the lowest planted acreage since 1987. Growers in Arkansas intend to plant 1.22 million acres, down 13 percent from last year.

All wheat planted area is estimated at 60.3 million acres, up 5 percent from 2006. The 2007 winter wheat planted area, at 44.5 million acres, is 10 percent above last year and up 1 percent from the previous estimate.

e-mail: erobinson@farmpress.com