Louisiana's rice plantings forecast to rise 8% year-over-year to 455,000 acres in 2012, USDA says; cotton plantings to fall 8% to 270,000 acres

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana , March 30, 2012 (press release) – “Louisiana farmers’ 2012 planting intentions shifted to reflect the current price, grain stocks, and market demand that we’ve seen in the past year,” said Nathan Crisp, Director of the Louisiana Field Office of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Louisianans can expect to see more winter wheat in the state due to a projected twenty-one percent increase from the 2011 acreage. Corn, rice, soybeans, and hay acreages are also projected up from 2011, but cotton and sweet potato acreages are expected to decrease.

“The prospective planting intentions reflect the current economic and weather conditions as of March 1,” Crisp cautions. “Actual acreage planted may increase or decrease based on what happens during the rest of the planting season.” NASS will conduct a June 1 survey to update planted acreage estimates and will release estimates from that survey on June 29, 2012.

Winter wheat acreage seeded last fall is estimated at 290,000 acres, up 50,000 acres (21 percent) from seedings for the 2011 crop. The U.S. all wheat planted area is estimated at 55.9 million acres, down one percent from 2011. The 2012 U.S. winter wheat planted area, at 41.7 million acres, is up three percent from the 40.6 million acres planted for the 2011 crop.

Louisiana’s corn farmers expect to plant 590,000 acres, up 10,000 acres (two percent) from a year ago. Corn acreage planted for all purposes in the U.S. is estimated at 95.9 million acres, up four percent from last year. If realized, this will represent the highest planted acreage in the U.S. since 1937, when an estimated 97.2 million acres were planted.

Rice planted acreage in Louisiana is expected to increase to 455,000 acres, up 32,000 acres (eight percent) from last year. Long grain varieties are expected to account for 410,000 acres. Producers intend to plant 45,000 acres of medium grain varieties. Rice planted area for the U.S. is expected to total 2.6 million acres, down five percent from 2011.

Louisiana’s soybean planted acreage is expected to increase by 50,000 acres (five percent) from last year, to 1.07 million acres. Soybean planted area for the U.S. is estimated at 73.9 million acres, down one percent from last year.

Cotton growers intend to plant 270,000 acres of upland cotton in Louisiana, down 25,000 acres (eight percent) from a year ago. The U.S. all cotton planted area this year is expected to total 13.2 million acres, 11 percent below last year. U.S. upland cotton acreage is expected to total 12.9 million acres, down 11 percent from 2011.

Grain sorghum intentions indicate acreage will total 130,000 acres in the state, unchanged from 2011. Grain sorghum planted area for the U.S. is estimated at 5.9 million acres, up nine percent from 2011.

Sweet potato planted acreage in the state is expected to total 13,000 acres, down 1,000 acres (seven percent) from last year. Sweet potato acreage for the U.S. is estimated at 133,400 acres, down one percent from last year.

An estimated 440,000 acres of hay will be harvested in the state, up 10,000 acres (two percent) from last year. U.S. producers expect to harvest 57.3 million acres of all hay in 2012, up three percent from last year’s record low.

The first 2012 estimate of sugarcane acreage for harvest will be available on June 29, 2012.

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