May 1, 2013
2013 U.S. Corn Acreage Expected to Decline 1-3 Million Acres
In the March Prospective Planting Report the USDA estimated that there would be 97.3 million acres of corn planted in the U.S. Given the delays in the northwestern Corn Belt, that number now seems overly optimistic. North Dakota farmers were expected to plant 4.1 million acres of corn, but that is probably unlikely given the planting delays in eastern North Dakota.
Additionally, there may be less corn planted in the Delta as well due to wet weather delaying the planting. In Monday's state reports, Arkansas indicated that 76% of the corn had been planted compared to an average of 87%. Mississippi reported that 84% of the corn had been planted compared to an average of 95%. Combined, these two states were expected to plant 2,050,000 acres of corn (1,000,000 in Arkansas and 1,050,000 in Mississippi). Farmers in the Delta do not like to plant corn in May for fear of hot and dry weather during pollination and grain filling. Therefore, there could be 200,000 to 300,000 acres of intended corn that will not be planted this year in the Delta. Most of those acres will probably be switched to soybeans, but a few of those acres might go to cotton or even rice. There are reports out of Mississippi that some of the poor corn fields may be torn up and replanted to soybeans.
At the present time, I would estimate that 1-3 million acres of intended corn will not be planted this spring. If cold and wet weather returns to the northwestern Corn Belt during May, that number may go even higher. In a worst case scenario, there may be as many as 5 million acres of corn that does not get planted. We are certainly not at that point at the present time. Probably most of those acres will go to soybeans, but a significant portion may end up as prevent plant acres. The longer the planting is delayed, it's less likely the acreage will be switched to soybeans and it's more likely it will end up as prevent plant.