N.C. farmers planted a record 860,000 acres of winter wheat this year and expect to harvest 770,000 acres, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s June Acreage Report. Acreage for peanuts and soybeans also is forecast to higher this year, but plantings of corn, cotton and tobacco will be lower.
The wheat plantings are up 23 percent over the 2011 total, a year that saw a record yield of 68 bushels per acre.
Peanut growers intend to plant 105,000 acres this year, a 28 percent increase.
Soybean plantings are forecast to increase 21 percent, to nearly 1.7 million acres.
The new estimates for peanuts and soybeans are even higher than in USDA’s Prospective Plantings Report in March.
“These three crops are definitely popular with North Carolina farmers this year,” says Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We typically see soybeans and corn trade acreage from year to year, so changes there aren’t that surprising. The increased plantings of wheat and peanuts indicate farmers are confident in prices.”
In a reversal from the March intentions report, corn plantings now are forecast to drop 2 percent from last year, to 850,000 acres. Farmers had indicated earlier this year that they would plant 900,000 acres.
Cotton acres are forecast to drop 32 percent from 2011, to 550,000 acres. “Cotton was very popular with North Carolina farmers last year because of prices and the crop’s ability to tolerate drought,” Troxler said. “Unfortunately, Hurricane Irene had a big negative impact on cotton yields, and I suspect that’s still fresh in the minds of many farmers. Plus, the production and harvest costs for cotton are significant, which probably factored into farmers’ planting decisions.”
The report showed tobacco acreage is also down this year. Plantings of flue-cured tobacco will total 154,000 acres, a 4 percent drop. And burley tobacco growers say they will harvest 1,600 acres this year, the fewest acres on record.
Sweet potato growers say they will plant 65,000 acres this year, the same as in 2011.
To see the particulars about these and other crops, click here.