SDCGA supports increased corn acres

The South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) supports corn producers in the state for stepping up to the corn demand from various sectors by intending to plant 9 percent more corn in the state in 2007. The USDA released its Prospective Planting report today and revealed that South Dakota farmers plan to plant 4.9 million acres to corn this season, up from 4.5 million in 2006.

“South Dakota producers are responding to the marketplace by planting additional acres of corn to meet the requirements of the ethanol and livestock industries,” said Reid Jensen, president of the SDCGA and producer from Burbank, S.D. “Never underestimate the ability of our corn producers to take responsibility for feeding and fueling our country.”

Nationwide, corn farmers are intending to plant 90.5 million acres, up from 78.6 million acres last year. These intentions would indicate 83.5 harvested acres, when the projected 7 million acres of silage are subtracted. If average trend yields of 152 bushels per acre are realized, corn producers would be on track to produce 12.692 billion bushels in 2007, the largest crop on record.

If corn producers carry through with these intentions, it will be the largest corn acreage since 1944, when producers planted 95.5 million acres. However, in most cases, the USDA’s Prospective Plantings estimates for corn are 1 million to 1.5 million acres higher than actual plantings.

All corn growing states saw increases in planting intentions and South Dakota’s numbers ranked the state at seventh in total acres. Comparatively, Iowa saw a 10 percent increase in corn acres; Minnesota, 8 percent; Nebraska, 11 percent; Illinois, 14 percent; and Indiana, 13 percent.

Corn growers have experienced high demand in all markets recently: exports, ethanol, consumer and livestock. Based on USDA’s projected demand of more than 12.3 billion bushels, corn growers should meet the demands of all markets this year if trend line yields (152 bushels per acre) are achieved, plus start to rebuild stocks.

“The increased acreage resolves livestock concerns, it closes food supply concerns, it feeds the ethanol appetite … we will meet the demand for corn in all sectors,” said Jensen.

Certainly weather considerations will come into play as the season progresses and drought conditions could persist which has the potential to affect these numbers dramatically. In 2006, South Dakota corn farmers planted 4.5 million acres but only harvested 3.2 million acres primarily due to drought conditions.

“This picture will undoubtedly change as the growing season gets underway,” said Jensen. “But our producers are up to the task of providing more corn to the markets that are demanding it and have built in a cushion of supply in anticipation of weather variables.”

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