USDA NASS reports soybean planting up 17 percent

By Susanne Retka Schill | June 17, 2008
Web exclusive posted June 30, 2008 at 1:42 p.m. CST

Midwestern flooding in late May and early June sent the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service back to the field to re-interview approximately 1,200 farmers June 23-25 in flood-affected areas. U.S. farmers intend to harvest 96.8 percent of their planted soybean acres - up 17 percent from last year. Without this additional survey data, the June 30 acreage report stated, historical averages would have indicated 98.7 percent of soybean acres to be harvested. U.S. corn farmers reported their intentions to harvest 90.4 percent of their planted acres of corn for grain. This was a change from 92.4 percent as measured during the first two weeks of June, according to NASS.

The acreage report had been anticipated by the trade to learn just how the final acres would be affected by poor planting weather. After the rains, NASS re-interviewed the farmers and it plans to conduct a more extensive acreage survey during July that will be incorporated in the August crop production report. Planting got off to a slow start across the Corn Belt, Ohio Valley, and the northern half of the Great Plains as frequent precipitation and cool temperatures during March and April prevented spring planting preparations. NASS reports that on May 4, corn planting was 27 percent complete, down 32 points from normal. Rapid progress was made during May, despite intermittent showers and below normal temperatures, so that by the time of the survey interviews, 97 percent of the intended corn acreage had been planted, compared with an average of 98 percent for the past 10 years.

While corn planting had caught up at the time of the survey, soybean planting was still delayed due to the poor spring weather. Farmers reported that 79 percent of the intended soybean acreage had been planted, the lowest since 1996. Soybean planted area for 2008 is estimated at 74.5 million acres, up 17 percent from last year, but 1 percent below the record high acreage in 2006. Area for harvest, at 72.1 million acres, is up 15 percent from 2007.

Compared with last year, planted acreage increases are expected in all states, and the U.S. planted area for soybeans is the third largest on record. The largest increase is expected in Nebraska, up 950,000 acres from 2007, followed by Illinois and South Dakota, both up 900,000 acres. Increases of at least 800,000 acres are also expected in Indiana, Iowa, and Minnesota. If realized, the planted acreage in Kansas, New York, and Pennsylvania will be the largest on record.

Corn planted area for all purposes is estimated at 87.3 million acres, down 7 percent from last year. Despite the decrease, the corn planted acreage is the second highest since 1946, behind last year's total of 93.6 million acres. Growers expect to harvest 78.9 million acres for grain, down 9 percent from 2007. If realized, this would be the second highest since 1944, behind last year. Farmers increased corn plantings 1.31 million acres from their March intentions.

For the complete acreages report, which includes tables for all the crops and shows plantings in all states, visit

In a separate June 30 report, USDA's NASS reported grain stocks in all positions. Soybeans stored in all positions on June 1 were down 38 percent for the previous year's total at 676 million bushels. On-farm stocks totaled 227 million bushels, down 55 percent for a year ago. Off-farm stocks, at 449 million bushels, are down 24 percent from the previous year. Indicated disappearance for the March to May quarter totaled 758 billion bushels, up 9 percent from the same period a year earlier. While 2006-'07 was soybean's turn for record crops, this current marketing year is corn's. Corn stocks in all positions on June 1, 2008, totaled 4.03 billion bushels, up 14 percent from a year earlier.
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