Results from an annual survey of more than 71,000 farmers showed a jump in planted corn and soybean acreage, and a dip in cotton and wheat, compared to 2019.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service estimated 92 million acres of corn was planted in the U.S. in 2020, up 3% from last year. Planted soybeans are estimated at 83.8 million acres, up 10%. Extreme wet conditions hindered the amount of corn and soybeans planted in 2019.
Robert Harper, grain division manager for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, said Corn Belt states had ideal weather this spring, and their crops were planted quickly compared to last year.
“It’s still amazing to me that the American farmer can plant about 30 million acres in a seven-day period,” Harper said in a June 25 webinar for the state’s grain producers.
Nationally, planted cotton is estimated at 12.2 million acres, 11% below last year. Wheat acreage is estimated at 44.3 million acres, down 2% from 2019. This represents the lowest wheat acreage since records began in 1919. Pandemic-related disruptions may be to blame, Harper noted.
“Everything in 2020 is unprecedented.”
In Virginia, farmers planted an estimated 570,000 acres of soybeans, the same as in 2019. Planted corn was estimated at 520,000 acres, down 20,000 acres. Cotton acreage was estimated at 95,000, down 8,000 acres.
The NASS report was released June 30, a day speculators and commodity traders anticipate every year to learn what crops U.S. farmers planted, and in what quantities. Results of an annual prospective plantings survey released March 31 helped speculators predict projected acreage and assist commodity traders in setting prices.
“June 30 was a great start,” Harper said. “Now it’s all about the weather, and watching domestic and international demand and exports.”