Geographical acreage changes between 2006 and 2012
USDA's release of the 2013 Planting Intentions report again focuses attention on acreage shifts between crops. Herein, historical acre changes across counties are documented for corn, soybeans, wheat, and cotton; four crops with large acreages. Examining these changes documents geographical changes having occurred in the past, perhaps providing indications of any acreage changes that may occur in the near future.
Data and Methods
Planted acres per county for corn, soybeans, wheat, and cotton were obtained from the QuickStats tool available through the National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS) website. With the exception of cotton, changes in county acres between 2006 and 2012 are reported in the following graphs (county change = acre in a crop in 2012 - acre in a crop in 2006). For cotton, acre changes are to 2011 rather than 2012, as planted acres are not available for 2012. The year 2006 was chosen as the base period, as this was the first year of a sustained increase in prices most crops have experience.
Each county with an acre listed for 2006 and 2012 (2011 for cotton) are documented in the following graphs. In certain cases, some counties with zero or low acres in either year may not be indicated on the graph, as NASS does not report acres for a crop when acres are low.
On a national basis, acres in the four crops exhibited the following changes:
- Corn acres increased from 78 million acres in 2006 to 97 million acres in 2012, a 24 percent increase.
- Soybean acres increased from 76 million acres in 2006 to 77 million acres in 2012, a 1 percent increase.
- Wheat acres decreased from 57 million acres in 2006 to 55 million acres in 2012, a 4 percent decrease.
- Upland cotton acres decreased from 15 million acres in 2006 to 12 million acres in 2012, a 20 percent decrease. Between 2011 and 2012, acres declined from 12.9 million acres to 12.1 million acres. Therefore, the upland cotton graph presented below which uses 2011 acres understates some of the changes across counties.
Given the large increase in corn acres, it is no surprise that corn acres increased in most counties across the greater Corn Belt from western Ohio through Nebraska (see Figure 1). Several counties in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska had increased acres between 30,000 and 60,000 acres.
A large contiguous set of counties in eastern North Dakota, northeast South Dakota, and western Minnesota had acreage increases of over 60,000 acres. This area in the Upper Midwest had a most pronounced change of corn acres of any area in the country.