The USDA, NASS, California Field Office has released the forecasts of crop plantings for 2006. These forecasts, of acreage planted and to be planted, are based on a survey of more than 2,500 California farmers, conducted the first two weeks of March. The impact of weather and/or market conditions since the survey is not reflected in this report.

Barley - California farmers had planted or intended to plant 110,000 acres to barley, 10 percent more than the previous year.

Beans, Dry Edible - Seeding of dry edible beans was planned for 65,000 acres in California, unchanged from last year.

Corn - California farmers were expecting to plant 520,000 acres of corn for all purposes in 2006, a decrease of 4 percent from last year.

Cotton - California farmers were intending to plant 310,000 acres to Upland cotton in 2006, down 28 percent from the acreage seeded in 2005 and the lowest planted acreage since 1944. In addition, growers were expecting to seed a record 290,000 acres to American Pima cotton in 2006, up 26 percent from last year.

Hay, All - California producers intended to harvest hay from 1.65 million acres, up 6 percent from last year.

Oats - Farmers in California had planted or were expecting to plant 250,000 acres of oats, 7 percent less than in 2005.

Rice - California farmers intended to seed rice on 550,000 acres, 4 percent above the acreage seeded in 2005. The expressed intentions were to seed 485,000 acres to medium grain varieties, 4 percent more than a year ago. The long grain rice acreage forecast is 10,000 acres, 11 percent above last season.

Short grain rice planted acreage forecast is 55,000 acres, 2 percent more than 2005. Short grain and all rice forecasts include the intended plantings of sweet rice.

Sorghum - Farmers in California were intending to plant 32,000 acres to sorghum in 2006, 23 percent more than the 2005 acreage.

Sugar Beets - California producers had planted or intended to plant 44,400 acres of sugar beets, unchanged from the acreage seeded in 2005.

Sweet Potatoes - California farmers were expecting to plant 11,500 acres of sweet potatoes in 2006, 2 percent less than last year.

Wheat - Acreage seeded to winter wheat is estimated at 430,000 acres, 13 percent below last year. Another 70,000 acres have been seeded to Durum wheat, 7 percent below 2005.

The next production forecast will be issued April 10, 2006.