N.C. agricultural planting intentions include more acres of soybeans, hay, tobacco and sweet potatoes
North Carolina farmers say they will plant more soybeans, hay, tobacco and sweet potatoes than last year, according to a recent release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Prospective Plantings report. Meanwhile, cotton acreage may see its lowest mark in 15 years.
N.C. growers intend to plant 1.6 million acres of soybeans this year, up 13 percent from a year ago and the highest acreage since 1989, the report said.
Wheat acreage in the state is now projected to be 820,000 acres, a record high. A USDA report last fall had projected 800,000 acres of winter wheat in the state.
“Soybean prices are strong, and it looks like many farmers want to plant soybeans after they harvest their winter wheat,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “If the weather cooperates, wheat and soybeans could be a profitable combination for North Carolina farmers this year.”
It appears that North Carolina will remain the nation’s top producer of tobacco and sweet potatoes, with acreages projected to see gains of 1 percent and 7 percent, respectively.
Hay acreage, which was devastated by the drought last year, is projected to increase by 3 percent to 720,000 acres.
North Carolina growers planted 1.1 million acres of corn last year, only to see yields suffer because of the drought. “That painful memory and higher fertilizer prices could be factors in their intention to plant only 920,000 acres this year,” Troxler said.
Cotton acreage will drop for the second consecutive year, to 420,000 acres, the lowest mark since 1993. If the projection holds, cotton acreage will be less than half of what it was just two years ago. “It appears that farmers are going after the higher prices for soybeans and corn,” Troxler said.
The report, which contains information for the entire United States, is available online at www.usda.gov/nass/PUBS/TODAYRPT/pspl0308.pdf.