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LITTLE ROCK — The number of Arkansas acres planted in rice, cotton, sorghum and soybean
were all expected rise this in 2014, with declines seen for corn and winter wheat,
according to the Prospective Plantings report issued by the National Agricultural
Statistics Service on Monday.
“Today’s report confirms what we were gathering all winter at our county meetings”
with Arkansas crop producers, said Scott Stiles, extension economist with the University
of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
Unlike last year, the economic incentive to plant corn is much lower, making competing
crops more attractive.
The 2014 corn acreage is projected at 600,000 acres, well below last year’s 880,000
and even further below 2013 if you consider how many corn acres would have been planted
absent adverse planting conditions. Last March, Arkansas growers intended to plant
1 million acres of corn.
Higher prices saw corn become a rising star for Arkansas farmers, but the market has
cooled, according to extension experts in corn and cotton.
“Overall, the corn figure is going to be down compared to last year,” said Jason Kelley,
extension wheat and feed grains specialist for the University of Arkansas System Division
of Agriculture. “Grain prices have come down from 2013, so a drop in acres was expected"
still acreage is estimated to be above our 10-year average.
Tom Barber, extension weed scientist and former cotton specialist, said lower prices
for corn may be sending some acres back to cotton.
"The new crop prices are still around 80 cents,” Barber said. “I think the difference
will be in the corn prices – what it is now versus what it was. A lot of these corn
acres are going back to cotton.”
Barber said he expected the biggest increase in cotton acres to be south of I-40.
The majority of the cotton acres were in the north anyway, but it might be up just
a tick in the north,” he said.
“Today’s report also indicated that 2014 cotton acreage would increase a modest 30,000
acres,” Stiles said. “At our county meetings we saw indications that our southern
Arkansas producers intended to increase cotton acreage this year.
“The southern half of the state in particular had record cotton yields in 2013,”
he said. “That may be a factor, but more importantly is the fact that cotton’s net
return per acre is marginally improved versus corn as compared to last year.”
Arkansas’ estimated peanut crop was not included in this year’s report, though a slight
decline was expected.
However, “peanut shellers are still shelling 2012 peanuts so, there are an excess
of peanuts in storage,” said Travis Faske, extension plant pathologist who works closely
with the state’s peanut growers. “Given the high supply, demand is low and so are
the contract prices … Arkansas peanut producers will scale back on the acres they
Faske expected acreage to hover around 10,000 acres for the 2015 growing season.
Kelley, who also works with the state's grain sorghum growers said, “The rise of grain
sorghum was due to several factors including good prices, increased ability to control
glyphosate-tolerant pigweeds with grain sorghum and more marketing opportunities."
Soybean acreage rises
The numbers are no surprise for Jeremy Ross, extension soybean specialist.
“From discussion with many growers during the winter meeting season, many indicated
that they would increase soybean and rice acreage, and decrease corn acreage,” Ross
said. “ In 2013, Arkansas soybean producers planted 3.26 million acres. My guess for
2014 is planted acreage will be between 3.3 and 3.4 million acres.
“However, this is all depending on the weather conditions in the next our weeks.
If we see a wet weather pattern, and corn planting is delayed, we may see a few more
soybean acres. From talks with many of the seed companies, soybean seed supply is
tight on some of the more popular varieties, but we should have enough seed to plant
this year's soybean crop.
Jarrod Hardke, extension rice specialist for the University of Arkansas System Division
of Agriculture, said the USDA estimates are “right in line with university expectations.”
Hardke said medium grain acreage was going to be a fluid situation this spring and
would be determined by seed supply. Weather would also be a determining factor in
shifting acres, he said.
“Rice acreage came in on the high end of expectations today,” Stiles said. “ Our budgets
have favored rice all winter and the growers confirmed that.”
Weather vs. prices
“NASS conducted its survey for today’s report during the first two weeks of March
and it reflects grower’s intentions at that time,” Stiles said. “I think commodity
prices will have a very limited impact from here forward on what growers plant. Weather
will now have the most influence.
“The month of March did not provide for a rapid start to 2014 planting,” he said.
”April will have to be a lot more cooperative for growers to reach their corn and
rice planting intentions and not alter today’s outlook.”
Last year, farmers saw record yields in most major crops.
For more information about crop production, visit our newly revamped web site, www.uaex.uada.edu or contact your county extension office.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers its programs to all
eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age,
disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
# # #
By Mary HightowerThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) email@example.com