Cotton producers intend to plant 8.81 million acres this year, a reduction from last year of 7 percent and the lowest cotton acreage in 26 years. According to USDA’s March 31 Prospective Plantings report, upland area is expected to total 8.67 million acres, the lowest since 1983.

Growers intend to decrease planted area in all states except Georgia, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The largest percentage declines are in Arkansas, California, Louisiana and Mississippi. Record low upland acreage is expected in Louisiana and Mississippi. Mississippi’s cotton acreage for 2009, at 300,000 acres, is less than half of its expected corn acreage of 630,000 acres.

American-Pima cotton growers intend to plant 143,500 acres, down 18 percent from 2008. California producers intend to plant 120,000 acres, down 23 percent from last year.

U.S. corn growers intend to plant 85 million acres of corn in 2009, down 1 percent from last year. Lower corn prices and unstable input costs are discouraging some growers from planting corn. If realized, this will be the second consecutive year-over-year decrease since 2007, but will still be the third largest acreage since 1949, behind 2007 and 2008.

Expected acreage is down from last year in many states, however, producers in the 10 major corn-producing states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin) collectively intend to plant 66.3 million acres, up slightly from the 66.1 million acres planted last year.

The largest decreases are expected in Missouri and South Dakota, both planting 150,000 acres less than 2008. If realized, the planted acreage in Kansas and New York will be the largest on record, and the planted acreage in North Dakota will tie the previous record high.

USDA is estimating rice acreage at 3.183 million acres, up 6 percent from last year’s 2.996 million acres. Acres increased 13 percent in Arkansas, 2 percent in Louisiana, 4 percent in Mississippi, 13 percent in Missouri and 3 percent in Texas. Acres declined by 8 percent in California.

All wheat planted area is estimated at 58.6 million acres, down 7 percent from 2008. The 2009 winter wheat planted area, at 42.9 million acres, is 7 percent below last year, but up 2 percent from the previous estimate. Of this total, about 30.9 million acres are hard red winter, 8.38 million acres are soft red winter, and 3.65 million acres are white winter. Area planted to other spring wheat for 2009 is expected to total 13.3 million acres, down 6 percent from 2008. Of this total, about 12.7 million acres are hard red spring wheat. The expected durum planted area for 2009 is 2.45 million acres, down 10 percent from the previous year.

email: erobinson@farmpress.com