Corn: The 2011 corn planted area for all purposes is estimated at 92.3 million acres, up 5 percent from last year, and the second highest planted acreage in the United States since 1944, behind only the 93.5 million acres planted in 2007. Iowa continues to lead all States with 14.2 million acres, the second highest acreage on record for that State. Notable increases in acreage from last year are also reported in Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Growers expect to harvest 84.9 million acres for grain, up 4 percent from last year.
Planting got off to a slow start in 2011 due to unfavorable planting conditions across much of the major corn-producing region during April. Midwestern fieldwork remained at a virtual standstill during the middle part of April due to heavy rains and lowland flooding in the central and eastern Corn Belt. During the final week of April, excessive rainfall continued to fall from eastern Oklahoma into the Mid-South and the lower Ohio Valley delaying planting in many locations, but some progress was made in the western Corn Belt. By May 1, only 13 percent of the acreage had been planted, compared to 66 percent planted at the same time last year and 40 percent for the 5-year average pace.
Planting delays continued during early May throughout much of the Midwest, but mostly dry weather favored fieldwork in the western Corn Belt states of Iowa and Nebraska. Iowa growers planted 61 percent of their corn acreage between May 1 and May 8, while Nebraska growers planted 42 percent. Planting conditions improved during May in most of the major corn-producing areas of the country, but delays continued in the eastern Corn Belt. By May 29, eighty-six percent of the intended corn acreage had been seeded, compared to 97 percent complete at the same time last year and 95 percent for the 5-year average. Planting was virtually complete by June 12.
Producers planted 88 percent of their acreage with seed varieties developed using biotechnology, up 2 percent from 2010. Varieties containing bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) were planted on 16 percent of the acreage, unchanged from last year. Herbicide resistant varieties developed using biotechnology were planted on 23 percent of the acreage, also unchanged from 2010. Stacked gene varieties, those containing both insect and herbicide resistance, were planted on 49 percent of the acreage, up 2 percent from a year ago.
Sorghum: Area planted to sorghum in 2011 is estimated at 5.35 million acres, down 1 percent from 2010. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 4.59 million acres, down 5 percent from last year. In Texas, area planted is estimated at a record low 1.60 million acres.
As of June 19, eighty-six percent of the crop had been planted, the same as last year but 2 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Drought conditions across much of the southern United States, especially in Texas, have negatively impacted sorghum condition. As a result, the crop was rated 39 percent good to excellent on June 19, compared to 73 percent last year.
Winter Wheat: The 2011 winter wheat planted area is estimated at 41.1 million acres, up 10 percent from 2010 but down slightly from the previous estimate. Acreage is up from last year across most of the Soft Red winter area due to the early row crop harvest last fall and higher prices. With lack of moisture in much of the Great Plains, Hard Red winter acres are down in Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas, with Nebraska seeded area estimated at a record low. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 32.3 million acres, up 2 percent from last year. Harvested acres in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas are down from last year due to drought conditions. As of June 12, harvest was 22 percent complete in the 18 major winter wheat-producing States, 9 points ahead of the 5-year average.
Durum Wheat: Area seeded to Durum wheat is estimated at 1.70 million acres, down 34 percent from 2010. Acreage in North Dakota is down 800,000 acres from last year due to an excessively wet winter and spring followed by severe flooding. Area harvested for grain is expected to total 1.65 million acres, 35 percent below 2010. Continued wet weather during early June has slowed crop development. As of June 12, crop emergence was 62 percent in Montana and 25 percent in North Dakota, both significantly behind the 5-year average.
Other Spring Wheat: The 2011 spring wheat planted area is estimated at 13.6 million acres, down 1 percent from 2010. Of the total, about 12.9 million acres are Hard Red Spring wheat. Spring wheat planting was hampered by flooding in the Dakotas. Grain area is expected to total 13.2 million acres, 1 percent below 2010. Crop development was delayed during June by wet, cool weather. As of June 12, the percent of crop emerged in the six major spring wheat-producing States was at 73 percent, 24 percent behind the 5-year average.
Rice: Area planted to rice in 2011 is estimated at 2.68 million acres, down 26 percent from 2010 and the lowest planted acreage since 1987. Area for harvest is forecasted at 2.65 million acres, down 27 percent from last year.
In all States except California, severe drought conditions, excessive flooding, and higher prices for competing commodities contributed to the decline in rice acres compared to last year. Area planted to rice in Arkansas, the largest rice-producing State, is at the lowest level since 1989. In California, water was in good supply, which allowed growers to plant 3 percent more rice than in 2010.
As of June 19, ninety-seven percent of the rice crop had emerged, on par with the previous year and the 5-year average. Growers in Louisiana and Texas were dealing with salt water intrusion due to the dry conditions. By month's end, 61 percent of the crop was rated in good to excellent condition, compared with 74 percent the same time last year.
Hay: Producers intend to harvest 57.6 million acres of all hay in 2011, down 4 percent from 2010. Expected harvested area of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures, at 19.3 million acres, is down 3 percent from 2010. Expected area for harvest for all other types of hay totals 38.3 million acres, down 4 percent from 2010. All hay harvested acres are expected to be below or equal to last year for most States in the Corn Belt, Great Plains, Pacific Northwest, and the Rocky Mountain region. Record low harvested acreage is expected in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin while record high acreage is expected in Arkansas.
Record high acres of alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures are expected to be harvested in Montana. In Arkansas, record low acreage is expected for alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures in contrast to the record-tying high harvested acreage of other hay that is expected in Arkansas.
Soybeans: The 2011 soybean planted area is estimated at 75.2 million acres, down 3 percent from 2010. Planted area decreased from last year in 21 out of 31 States and is the lowest since 2007. Area for harvest is forecast at 74.3 million acres, also down 3 percent from 2010.
Severe flooding during April contributed to delayed soybean planting this spring. Heavy snowmelt created flooding along the upper and middle Mississippi River, while heavy rains induced flooding across the Ohio Valley and Mid-South. During the last week of April, historic flooding occurred in southeastern Missouri and neighboring areas as the flood crest moved south. Meanwhile, cool temperatures and rain combined to slow planting progress across the northern Corn Belt. As of May 8, only 7 percent of intended soybean acreage was planted, 21 points behind last year's pace and 10 points behind the 5-year average.
During the second week of May, a stretch of warm, dry weather allowed progress to advance 15 points nationally. Progress was especially significant across the central and western Corn Belt as progress advanced 37 points in Iowa and 25 points in Nebraska. However, planting progress in 12 of the 18 published States still lagged behind normal, with progress in Ohio at only 3 percent, 41 points behind normal. Over the last two weeks of May, progress fell even further behind normal pace, especially in the eastern Corn Belt where wetness continued to hamper field operations. As of May 29, fifty-one percent of the intended soybean acreage was planted, 20 points behind normal and last year's pace. Ohio was only at 7 percent planted, nearly 70 percentage points less than the 5-year average for that date, and Indiana lagged 37 points behind the normal pace.
Twenty-seven percent of the soybean crop had emerged by May 29, sixteen points behind last year's pace and 12 points behind normal. Emergence advanced to 64 percent by June 12, behind last year's pace by 14 points and behind the 5-year average by 12 points.
Producers planted 94 percent of the 2011 soybean acreage to herbicide resistant seed varieties, up 1 percentage point from 2010.
Cotton: Area planted to cotton in 2011 is estimated at 13.7 million acres, up 25 percent from last year and the highest level since 2006. Upland acreage is estimated at 13.4 million acres, up 25 percent from 2010. American Pima acreage is estimated at 289,000 acres, up 42 percent from 2010. In Texas, Upland planted acreage is estimated at 7.10 million acres, the highest level since 1981. Strong cotton prices are driving acreage increases throughout the cotton belt.
Cotton planting got off to a slow start this year due in large part to dry conditions across much of the cotton belt. However, planting gained speed in May, and by month's end, 73 percent of the cotton acreage had been planted. This was only 4 percentage points behind last year and 3 percentage points behind the 5-year average. By June 26, the crop was rated 41 percent very poor to poor, the highest percentage in these categories since estimates began in the mid-1980s. The poor condition of the crop is mainly due to extreme drought throughout much of the southern and southeastern United States.
Producers planted 90 percent of their acreage with seed varieties developed using biotechnology, down 3 percent from last year. Varieties containing bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) were planted on 17 percent of the acreage, up 2 percent from last year. Herbicide resistant varieties were planted on 15 percent of the acreage, down 5 percent from 2010. Stacked gene varieties, those containing both insect and herbicide resistance, were planted on 58 percent of the acreage, unchanged from a year ago.