Corn growers intend to plant 88.8 million acres in 2010, 3% more than last year and the year before, according to USDA’s March 31 Prospective Plantings report.

Expected acreage is up in many states due to reduced winter wheat acreage and expectations of improved net returns. Acreage increases of 300,000 or more are expected in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Ohio. The largest decreases are expected in Iowa, down 200,000 acres, and Texas, down 150,000 acres.

Spun with a different thread, Friday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) increased projected year-ending (2009-10) corn stocks 6% and narrowed the expected price range 5¢ on both ends of the range to $3.50-$3.70/bu. for the current marketing year.

If for some reason this is a year when drought or other weather problems overwhelm record corn production, obviously prices could quickly spike the other direction.

Soybean producers plan to plant a record high 78.1 million acres in 2010, an increase of almost 1% compared to 2009. Acreage increases of 100,000 or more are expected in Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. The largest decreases are expected in Georgia and North Carolina, both 150,000 acres less than 2009. If intentions are realized, the planted acreage in Kansas, North Dakota and Pennsylvania will be the largest on record.

The All Wheat planted area is estimated at 53.8 million acres, down 9% from 2009. The 2010 winter wheat planted area, at 37.7 million acres, is 13% below last year but up 2% from the previous estimate. Of this total, about 28.3 million acres are Hard Red Winter, 6.0 million acres are Soft Red Winter, and 3.4 million acres are White Winter. Area planted to other spring wheat for 2010 is estimated at 13.9 million acres, up 5% from 2009. Of this total, about 13.3 million acres are Hard Red Spring wheat. Durum planted area for 2010 is estimated at 2.22 million acres, down 13% from the previous year.

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