Power Hour: Shifts in Planting Acres

April 4, 2013 09:30 AM
Power Hour: Shifts in Planting Acres

State changes contained in the 2013 Prospective Plantings report largely are expected and do not signal major shifts from previous trends.

Issued by Gary Schnitkey, University of Illinois

USDA's 2013 Planting Intentions report provides detail on prospective plantings by state. These state figures will change as plantings progress through the growing season. Moreover, these state values have a margin of error around them. Hence, one should not read too much into state changes at this point. Given these caveats, state acre changes are interpreted below, as many of the state changes continue trends observed in recent history.


Nationally, corn acres are expected to be near the same in 2013 as in 2012: 97.3 million acres in 2013 as compared to 97.1 million acres in 2012. While the national acreage is expected to remain the same, shifts across states are projected. Illinois is projected to loss 600,000 acres. Many expected a decline in Illinois acres, as corn-after-corn yields have experience large yields drags in central and southern Illinois in the last two years, leading some farmers to shift away from corn to soybeans.

It is interesting to note that corn acreage is projected to decease in states where the 2012 drought was the worst: Illinois (-600,000 acres), Missouri (-200,000), Indiana (-150,000), Kansas (-100,000) and Kentucky (-50,000). In other corn producing acres where the drought had less of an impact on yields, corn acres are projected to remain the same or increase: Iowa (no change), Minnesota (250,000 increase), and North Dakota (500,000). The drought areas experienced adverse conditions leading to larger corn-after-corn yield drags. It will be interesting to see if Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota experience corn-after-corn yield drags when more adverse years occur, leading to reduced corn acres.


In Illinois, there is a projected to be a shift away from corn (-600,000 acres) to soybeans (350,000) and wheat (170,000). In recent years, increases in corn acres in Illinois have slowed. Illinois planted corn acres have been 12 million acres or above since 2006, with a high since 2006 of 13.2 million acres in 2007. Since 2006, corn acres have varied but have not exhibited a trend up or down (see Figure 1). The 12.8 million acres in 2012 was the highest since the 13.2 million in 2007. Whether the 2013 projected decline continues into future years remains to be seen, likely depending on relative yields in 2013 and beyond.

North Dakota

In 2013, North Dakota is projected to increase corn acres (500,000) and soybean acres (150,000) and reduce wheat acres (-400,000). This has been a continuing trend in North Dakota. If 2013 projections hold, North Dakota will again have more corn and soybean acres, while planting fewer acres of wheat and other small grains.


The 2013 prospective plantings for cotton of 10.0 million acres is down 2.3 million acres from the 2012 level. Forty-five percent of the decline is attributed to Texas, with a -1 million acre decline between 2012 and 2013. Other states with large declines include Arkansas (-325,000) and Mississippi (-205,000). Cotton acres have generally been on a downward trend in recent years.

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