Today’s Topic: NC farmers planting more soybeans and sweet potatoes, less corn, tobacco and peanuts

by | Jul 14, 2015


Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

We’re starting to get a better picture of this year’s planted acreage for some of the major crops across the state. The USDA recently released its updated acreage forecast, and it showed that, in some cases, farmers are planting fewer acres of a crop than they intended earlier in the year.

The most notable number has to do with corn. In March, the planting intentions report showed that North Carolina farmers intended to plant 870,000 acres of corn this year, which would have been a 4 percent increase over last year. But the latest report shows a forecast of 830,000 acres, which is 1 percent less than a year ago.

This probably isn’t that surprising when you consider that corn prices aren’t nearly as good as a few years ago. And when you also consider input costs and the wet spring in North Carolina, you get a good sense of why corn isn’t quite as popular with farmers this year.

Tobacco acreage also is forecast to be lower than a year ago. It is now projected to be 17 percent below last year, a bigger drop than was projected in the spring. The total acreage for all tobacco is now forecast to be 161,000 acres.

Peanut acreage is forecast to drop by 13 percent from last year, to 82,000 acres. That’s also a change from the planting intentions back in March, which had predicted that acres would remain consistent with last year’s plantings.

On the plus side, the USDA forecast says North Carolina farmers will plant 1.85 million acres of soybeans this year. That’s 6 percent above last year’s acreage and the most acres since 1984. The March forecast had indicated that soybean acreage would be 1.75 million acres, the same as last year.

The state’s farmers also are expecting a record 75,000-acre sweet potato crop this year, which the Commissioner says reflects the versatility of the crop and the international demand for it.

Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss the latest USDA acreage report.

[Audio:/wp-content/uploads/Troxler_7-14-15.mp3|titles=Today’s Topic for July 14]

Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.