Plantings of the eight major U. S. field crops are expected to be down in 2009 due to fewer wheat seedings and less double-crop soybean acreage, the Agriculture Department’s chief economist said April 1.
USDA’s annual prospective plantings report indicated there will be a decline of 7.1 million acres, or 2.8 per cent, from 2008 in land devoted to wheat, rice, corn, sorghum, barley, oats, cotton and soybeans.
Chief economist Joe Glauber told reporters some of the decline could be attributed to less double-cropping of wheat followed by soybeans. In some regions, the fall harvest ran too late for planting of winter wheat, he said.
Overall, wheat seedings are forecast at 58.6 million acres, compared with 63.1 million acres in 2008.
“Some of it … I assume is going into fallow,” said Glauber.
The report was based on interviews with 86,000 growers in the first half of March. The report does not track use of land that is not planned for tillage.
During a House Agriculture subcommittee hearing, Glauber said USDA expects enrolment in the Conservation Reserve in coming years will run close to the ceiling of 32 million acres set in the 2008 farm law. Some 33.7 million acres are now in the reserve. Contracts on 3.9 million acres expire on Sept. 30.