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2007 corn acreage          Send a link to a friend

[DEC. 27, 2006]  URBANA -- If historical tends continue into 2007, farms in northern Illinois will increase corn acres more than central Illinois, and southern Illinois response will likely be weather-driven, concludes a University of Illinois Extension study.

"Corn acre increases in southern Illinois likely will not be as large as in northern and central Illinois," said Gary Schnitkey, U of I Extension farm financial management specialist, who wrote the study "Corn Acre Changes Likely Will Vary by Region and Farm Size," which is available online.

"Farms with more tillable acres likely will increase corn acres by a higher percentage than farms with fewer acres," Schnitkey said. "Acreage responses, however, will vary across farms."

Schnitkey's study seeks to predict how Illinois farmers may change acres as a result of higher relative corn prices projected for 2007. Data for the study were obtained from Illinois Farm Business Farm Management Association records. To be included in the study, a farm had to average over 500 tillable acres.

"The study examines acres planted to alternative crops from 1996 up to 2005," he said. "For each year, the percent of tillable acres in corn was calculated for each farm in each year."

For the study, Illinois farms were divided into three categories -- northern, central and southern.

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Between 1996 and 2005, the corn planting percentage increased in all three regions. In northern Illinois it jumped from 52 to 61 between 2001 and 2005. For central Illinois there was an increase from 48 percent in 1996 to 54 percent in 2005. In southern Illinois the percentage increased from 38 in 2003 to 44 in 2005.

The historical data also indicates variability across individual farms.

"For example, between 2004 and 2005, the average corn planting percentage in northern Illinois increased from 58 to 61, but 41 percent of the farms actually decreased corn planting percentage," he said.

If this continues into 2007, a considerable number of farms will decrease corn planting even if the overall average increases. Given this variability, it is difficult to get a feel for acreage response by speaking to only a few farmers, Schnitkey noted.

"While it is likely that overall acres will increase, many farmers will decrease corn acres in 2007," said Schnitkey. "Reasons for individual farm declines are likely farm-specific.

"Although current projected prices favor corn production, individual farmers will consider their individual farm situations when making decisions."

[University of Illinois Extension news release]


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