Corn planted acreage is the highest in 77 years, the USDA reported on Friday in its annual “Acreage” report.
The USDA estimates corn acreage at 97.4 million acres. This is up slightly from 2012 and the highest planted acreage in the country, when an estimated 102 million acres were planted.
In addition, growers are expected to harvest 89.1 million acres for grain, 2 percent higher than last year.
Iowa corn acreage was reduced from 2012, down to 14 million acres in 2013. Many other top corn-producing states reporting a drop in acreage from 2012, including Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
Illinois saw the biggest drop in estimated corn acreage this year, dropping to 12.2 million from 12.8 million last year.
Soybean and wheat acreage also is estimated higher than last year. Soybean planted area for 2013 is estimated at 77.7 million acres, up 1 percent from 2012. If realized, it will be a record high. The USDA estimates record high soybean acreage in New York, Pennsylvania and South Dakota.
All wheat is estimated at 56.5 million acres, also up 1 percent from last year.
The 2013 corn and soybean acreage were above the intended plantings reported in the USDA’s March “Prospective Plantings” report. Growers intended to plant 97.3 million acres of corn and 77.1 million acres of soybeans.
Corn plantings in particular defied forecasts.
"It was mostly the planted acres that caught people by surprise and justifiably so. They're extremely high numbers for planted acres," said Jack Scoville, an analyst at the Price Futures Group, told Reuters.
Analyst Dave Kurzawski with FC Stone in Chicago noted that the USDA's corn acreage had a bearish face value with corn stocks durning bullish.
September corn futures plunged 21.25 cents to $5.51/bushel just after the reports were released Friday, while December plummeted 25.0 cents to $5.135. August soybean futures slid 3.5 cents to $14.29/bushel just before lunchtime Friday, while August soyoil fell 0.57 cents to 45.78 cents/pound, whereas the August meal contract edged $0.8 higher to $436.0/ton.