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Published June 28, 2013, 02:07 PM

USDA releases annual acreage report

The wet spring cut sharply into planted acreage in much of the Upper Midwest, according to an annual U.S. Department of Agriculture report released June 28.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

The wet spring cut sharply into planted acreage in much of the Upper Midwest, according to an annual U.S. Department of Agriculture report released June 28.

North Dakota was hit particularly hard, with farmers in the state planting an estimated 20.7 million acres, down from 22.9 million a year ago, says the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of USDA.

NASS also projects fewer planted acres in Minnesota. Farmers there planted an estimated 19.6 million acres, down from 20 million in 2012.

South Dakota and Montana farmers fared much better, with the wet spring moderating severe drought in much of the two states.

South Dakota producers planted an estimated 17.6 million acres, up from 17.5 million a year ago. Montana farmers planted an estimated 9.5 million acres, up from 9.2 million a year ago.

A look at corn, wheat

Even with the wet spring, corn acreage rose in North Dakota this year. Farmers in the state planted 3.9 million acres of corn, up from 3.6 million a year ago, NASS estimates.

“That’s a testament to the profitability of corn,” says Tom Lilja, executive director of the North Dakota Corn Growers Association.

Corn acres are estimated to drop in both South Dakota (6.1 million in 2012 to 5.9 million this year) and Minnesota (8.75 million in 2012 to 8.7 million this year).

North Dakota’s spring wheat acreage this year is estimated at 5.7 million, down from 5.75 million a year ago.

In Montana, spring wheat acreage this year is pegged at 2.85 million, down from 2.95 million last year.

Minnesota farmers this year planted an estimated 1.2 million acres of spring wheat, down from 1.35 million in 2012.

Strong interest in corn and uncooperative weather combined to reduce spring wheat acres, says Dave Torgerson, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers.

The spring was too wet

The National Ag Statistics Service projects 2013 durum acreage in North Dakota, the nation’s leading producer of the crop, at 850,000, down from 1.34 million in 2012.

Poor planting conditions and unattractive durum prices cut into acreage, says Doug Opland, a Des Lacs, N.D., farmer and president of the U.S. Durum Growers Association.

“The prices were part of it. Then it got so wet some guys just couldn’t get in their durum,” Opland says.

NASS says farmers in North Dakota, the nation’s top canola producer, planted 860,000 acres of the crop, down from 1.46 million acres in 2012.

Barry Coleman, executive director of the Bismarck, N.D.-based Northern Canola Growers Association, says the NASS estimate is about what his group expected.

“It was just too wet,” in several key canola-growing areas, he says.

Estimates for other crops

Here are the National Ag Statistics Service acreage estimates for other prominent crops in the region:

Soybeans

•North Dakota — 4.4 million, down from 4.75 million in 2012.

•Minnesota — 6.8 million, down from 7 million in 2012.

•South Dakota — 4.8 million, up from 4.75 million in 2012.

Barley

•North Dakota — 770,000, down from 1.06 million in 2012.

•Montana — 1 million, up from 900,000 in 2012.

Dry edible beans

•North Dakota — 510,000, down from 700,000 in 2012.

•Minnesota — 135,000, down from 160,000 in 2012.

Sunflowers

•North Dakota — 578,000, down from 860,000 in 2012.

•South Dakota — 617,000, down from 645,000 in 2012.

Flax

•North Dakota — 200,000,down from 315,000 in 2012.

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