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USDA's bullish planting, stocks #s

Jeff Caldwell 03/31/2011 @ 7:37am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

USDA released its annual Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks reports Thursday morning, showing U.S. farmers intend to plant 92.2 million acres of corn, 76.6 million acres of soybeans and 58 million acres of wheat this year. The corn and wheat numbers are higher than the trade expected, while the soybean number is slightly below the average trade estimate. All 3 figures are above 2010 planting numbers.

"If realized, this will be the second highest planted acreage in the United States since 1944, behind only the 93.5 million acres planted in 2007," according to Thursday's Prospective Plantings report. "Acreage increases of 250,000 or more are expected in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota."

Adds the report, on soybean acres this year: "If realized, the United States planted area will be the third largest on record. Compared with last year, planted acreage declines of 100,000 acres or more are expected in Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Ohio. If realized, the planted area in New York and North Dakota will be the largest on record."

Domestic corn stocks as of March 1 were down 15% from a year ago, at 6.52 billion bushels, according to Thursday morning's USDA Grain Stocks report. Just over half that, 3.38 billion bushels, is in on-farm storage, down 26% from a year ago.

The numbers have trade analysts expecting limit-up early trading for corn and soybeans, with wheat following suit, largely because of tightened grain stocks numbers.

"The December 2010 - February 2011 indicated disappearance is 3.53 billion bushels, compared with 3.21 billion bushels during the same period last year," according to Thursday's Stocks report.

Soybeans in storage aren't as far off the pace, with 1.25 billion bushels in storage, down 2% from a year ago. But, on-farm storage is at 505 million bushels, and that's down 17% from a year ago. Off-farm stored bushels are slated at around 744 million bushels, and that's up 13% from a year ago.

Wheat in storage is up 5% from a year ago at 1.42 billion bushels. On-farm storage is down 17% from a year ago.

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