A look at total crop acreage
The Winter Wheat Seedings report showed that farmers planted nearly 1.2 million fewer acres to winter wheat last fall with almost all of the decline in soft red producing areas. This suggests that fewer wheat acres will be double-cropped with soybeans for 2014. Further total wheat acreage will probably fall below 2013 levels unless farmers plant a lot more spring wheat. However the wet spring in 2013 had a pretty significant impact on spring wheat acreage. Farmers reported that the weather kept them from planting about 2 million acres of wheat – with most of that decline in North Dakota. Accordingly, total wheat acreage in 2014 may come in close to the 2013 total of 56.2 million acres.
click image to zoom So to summarize – total principal crop acreage came in at 324.8 million acres, but farmers said that weather kept them from planting an additional 8.3 million acres of the 10 major crops so the total for all 21 crops would probably be closer to 9 million acres. The more “normal” level of acres not planted due to weather is around 1.5 million acres. So with “normal” prevented planted acres in 2014 the total acreage available would be about 334 million acres. Further, a total of 1.6 million acres of crop land exited the Conservation Reserve Program at the end of September and at least some of that land will probably come back into production in 2014. So we start with a pool of about 335 million acres for 2014 crops, 10 million more than was planted in 2013.
With the reduction in soft red winter wheat acreage, we will probably see a decline in double-cropped soybean acres this year, and the decline could be near 2 million acres. In addition, the data suggests that some of the land planted to winter wheat for 2013 was either abandoned and planted to another crop – such as sorghum - or got counted as other hay acreage harvested. This could mean that an additional 2 million to 3 million acres got counted twice in 2013, boosting the total principal crop acreage. So maybe the “extra” acres available for 2014 is closer to 5 million acres than the 10 million suggested before.
The wet weather last spring also had a negative impact on the acreage of more minor crops, such as canola, sunflowers, dry beans and others. If we assume that the deviations of these crops from intentions to actual acreage were all weather related and that acreage will snap back in 2014, we can account for nearly another million acres. So the net increase in land available for 2014 could be down to 4 million acres. That sounds less dramatic that the 10 million acres we started with.
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