Chart of the Week

U.S. Corn Area Planting and Yield

US Corn Area Planted editedThe 2012 Prospective Plantings report projects that U.S. producers will plant 95.9 million acres (38.81 million hectares) of corn in 2012 – the highest corn planted area since 1937, up 3.9 million acres (1.6 m ha) from 2011 and slightly above the area planted in 2007 (up 2.4 m acres or 0.95 m ha).

This report surprised many market participants who had projected a lower number. Corn planting intentions increased 4 percent from a year ago and 9 percent from 2010. In addition, sorghum planting intentions increased 9 percent to 5.950 million acres and barley planting intentions increased 30 percent to 3.333 million acres.

Despite the large corn acreage projection, futures prices rose for corn, wheat and soybeans. USDA's quarterly Grain Stocks report surprised the market with a smaller-than-expected number of 6.01 billion bushels of corn on hand March 1, 2012 which was below the average trade estimate. That corn stocks number implied that the December 2011 through February 2012 corn usage was 3.64 billion bushels, well above the level of use for that same period of time the previous year. In addition, lower than expected acreage and stocks estimates for soybeans and wheat drove prices for those commodities higher.

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