Officials ponder math in wake of crop report
FARGO, N.D. -- One big mystery is how much prevent-plant acreage there will be in North Dakota in 2009 as a result of troubles planting crops and preparing land in the wake of the fall 2008 wet weather and difficult spring conditions. Some pundit...
FARGO, N.D. -- One big mystery is how much prevent-plant acreage there will be in North Dakota in 2009 as a result of troubles planting crops and preparing land in the wake of the fall 2008 wet weather and difficult spring conditions. Some pundits had put the prevent-plant insurance coverage at 3 million to even 4 million acres.
But during the week before the July 4 weekend, the National Agricultural Statistics Service came out with the June 30 crop production report, which suggested a 2.1 million-acre reduction in plantings, considering a tally of 18.6 million acres in crops.
When hard red winter wheat, dry peas, lentils, potatoes and other annual crops planted using 2008 numbers are added in, that's another 1.37 million acres for a grand total of 20 million acres.
North Dakota typically has planted acres of about 20 million acres, according to Farm Service Agency officials. In 2008, a low year of prevent-plant for the state, FSA took acreage reports of annually grown major crops totaling 21.4 million acres.
So where are the prevent-plant acres?
Dale Ihry, a state program specialist with the FSA, wonders if the answer is 21.4 million (2008 acreage) minus 20 million (2009) -- a difference of 1.4 million acres.
"My guess is we'll have between 1.5 million and 2.5 million acres in prevent-plant," Ihry says. "We're just not seeing it in this report."
Ihry's associate, Brad Olson, says the FSA in Washington recently changed the acreage reporting and prevent-plant reporting date to Aug. 14, but that the North Dakota office is hoping to assemble the numbers before the July 15 normal deadline.