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Distribution of corn and soybean acres forecast          Send a link to a friend

[April 12, 2007]  URBANA -- While 2007 corn acreage will increase in the Corn Belt, a higher percentage of corn acres are projected to be grown outside the Corn Belt, said a University of Illinois Extension farm financial management specialist.

"This shift in production could cause a small drag on national corn yield; however, weather and other factors likely will be more important in determining 2007 yields," said Gary Schnitkey, who wrote "Geographical Distribution of Corn and Soybean Planting Intentions," a report available online at U of I Extension's Farmdoc site.

The report includes a color map showing the projected increases nationwide plus a table comparing planted acres in 2006 and 2007 on a state-by-state basis. Projected increases are based on the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service's report on planting intentions.

While Illinois and Iowa have the largest projected increases in corn acres in 2007, the next largest increases are in North Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana, Mississippi and Minnesota. The spread of increased corn acreage, though, means that the percentage share of the Corn Belt states in total acreage will decline by 2 percentage points.

"In general, share of acreage is shifting to the Delta states, Missouri and North Dakota," said Schnitkey.

These regional shifts could reduce the expected U.S. yield for 2007 as the states with higher expected yields (the Corn Belt) have smaller acreage shares. Schnitkey calculates that this means a 2007 yield one-half bushel below the 2006 yield.

"Larger acreages of corn also may result in lower expected yields as lower productivity farmland is brought into corn production," he added. "However, acreage increases in previous years have not led to statistically detectable decreases in yields.

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"More corn-after-corn production likely will occur mostly in Illinois and Iowa, states that have expected yields above the U.S. average."

Schnitkey believes that, overall, decreases in the expected U.S. corn yield in 2007 will be small.

At the same time that many states are increasing corn acres, several states in the Southeast are projected to increase soybean acres, Schniktey said. These include Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.

"The five states in the Southeast projected to gain soybean acres will gain in share of total production," he said. "In aggregate, these five states are projected to gain 0.6 percentage points of share of production between 2006 and 2007. The gain is relatively small because these states have relatively few acres to begin with."

Other than this switch, however, geographical patterns in projected 2007 soybean plantings are difficulty to identify.

"Expected U.S. yield should not be impacted by regional soybean shifts in production, because these shifts are minimal in nature," he said.

[Text from file received from the University of Illinois Extension]


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