(DesMoines Register) – A deeper dive into the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s monthly acreage report issued Friday shows that Iowa farmers cut back on their anticipated corn plantings, from the expected 14.4 million acres to an even 14 million acres.
The 2012 corn acres number will be down about 100,000 acres from the 14.1 million acres planted for corn in 2011. Iowa again led the nation in corn production with an average yield of 172 bushels per acre and total production of about 2.5 billion bushels.
Soybeans gained some acres in Iowa, from 9.35 million acres last year to 9.5 million acres planted this spring, according to the USDA numbers.
At the time of spring planting, soybean prices had jumped about 25 percent since February on news of drought in South America, while corn prices were beginning to dip below $6 per bushel for the first time in more than a year in anticipation of a bigger U.S. corn crop.
In the aftermath of the report Friday commodity analysts have expressed concern that while Iowa’s reduced corn crop is in relatively good shape, rated 68 percent good to excellent a week ago and recipient of a half-inch or more rainfall Friday and Saturday, that the key corn states of Illinois and Indiana might not be so fortunate.
Both of those states have been hit harder by the drought this summer, and have seen their corn crops rated only 37 percent good to excellent in Illinois and 24 percent good to excellent in Indiana because of the hot, dry conditions.
The USDA report shows that farmers in both Illinois and Indiana planted more corn acres into what has turned out to be extremely difficult conditions. Illinois’ corn acres are up this year to 13 million acres from 12.6 million acres last year.
Indiana’s corn acres are up from 5.9 million in 2011 to 6.2 million this year. Missouri, also in extreme drought conditions this year, has increased its corn acres from 3.3 million last year to 2.6 million in 2012.
Total planting for corn nationwide is up from 92 million acres last year to 96.4 million in 2012.
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