Today’s Topic: USDA report indicates NC farmers will plant more acres of corn, sweet potatoes this year

by | Apr 12, 2016


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

North Carolina farmers intend to plant more acres of corn and sweet potatoes this year, according to USDA’s Prospective Plantings report.

Corn plantings in North Carolina are expected to increase by 18 percent over last year, to 930,000 acres. If the forecast holds, it will reverse a downward trend in corn acreage that occurred the past two growing seasons.

Sweet potato acreage also is expected to increase this year. Farmers say they will plant 105,000 acres, which is 21 percent more than last year. And if the forecast is true, it will be the highest sweet potato acreage ever recorded in North Carolina. The previous high was 101,000 acres way back in 1932.

Two other crops with expected increases in acreage are hay and peanuts. Hay acreage is forecast to rise by 7 percent over last year, and peanut acreage is projected to be up 6 percent.

As acreage rises for some crops, it will fall for others. Cotton growers intend to plant 290,000 acres this year, which is 25 percent fewer than last year. And winter wheat acreage already is down 25 percent from last year, with 490,000 acres planted.

Flue-cured tobacco acres are expected to drop by 6 percent, to 160,000. And burley acreage is forecast to be 5 percent lower than a year ago.

Finally, soybean plantings are forecast to total 1.7 million acres, down 7 percent from last year.

Actual plantings may change because of weather, input costs, commodity prices and other factors. More will be known about actual plantings when the USDA’s acreage report comes out on June 30.

To listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss N.C. farmers’ planting intentions, click on the audio player below.

[Audio:/wp-content/uploads/Troxler_4-12-16.mp3|titles=Today’s Topic for April 12]

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