Corn, soybean acres up

Ray Mueller
Now Media Group


Wisconsin farmers are poised to harvest corn and soybeans from a record high number of planted acres, according to the latest crop acreage report issued by the National Agricultural Statistics Service and its Wisconsin field office.

The report estimated 4.2 million acres of corn were planted in Wisconsin this year. This is both 200,000 acres more than in 2015 and than what growers had indicated as their planting intentions when a survey was conducted in March.

Of the 4.2 million acres, farmers expect to harvest about 3.2 million acres for grain. Most of the remainder will be harvested for corn silage and corn seed.

The report pointed out that about 90 percent of the corn planted in 2016 had at least one biotechnology trait. Of all the corn acres, 70 percent had a stacked gene combination, 17 percent had a herbicide resistant trait only, and 3 percent had an insect resistant trait only.

Across the United States, the 94.148 million acres of planted corn is an increase of 7 percent or 6.149 million acres from a year ago. If the prediction of harvesting 86.6 million acres for grain is correct, it would be the third highest number of corn acres harvested for grain since 1933.

Added soybean acres

The estimate of 1.95 million acres of soybeans planted in Wisconsin was the same as the declared intentions in March but 70,000 more than the previous record high set in 2015. The report noted that 94 percent of the state's planted soybeans have a herbicide resistant trait.

Wisconsin was joined by Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and North Dakota in having a record high of soybean acres planted this year. This resulted in an estimated record high of 83.688 million planted acres — up by 1.038 million acres from 2015.

Small grain acres vary

Oats was planted on an estimated 250,000 acres in Wisconsin this year — down by 30,000 acres from 2015. About 130,000 of those acres are likely to be harvested for grain compared to 195,000 acres a year ago.

Wisconsin's winter wheat acreage is estimated at 290,000, of which 265,000 are expected to be harvested as grain. This would be 55,000 more acres harvested for grain than in 2015.

Across the United States, the planted oats estimate of 3.027 million acres is down by 61,000 acres from 2015. The estimate of 36.538 million acres of winter wheat is down by 2.923 million or 7.4 percent from a year ago.

For all wheat planted for harvest in 2016, the nation's total of 50.8 million acres is down by 7 percent from 2015. This year's wheat plantings include 12.1 million acres of spring wheat, which is a reduction of 8 percent from 2015.

Hay acres increase

Acres for hay have also increased this year in Wisconsin. The total of 1.63 million acres is 120,000 more than in 2015. The acres include an increase of 100,000 to 1.2 million for alfalfa hay and of 20,000 acres to 333,000 for other hay crop species.

The nation's total for hay acres in 2016 is an increase of 1.69 million to a new total of 56.127 million. Unlike in Wisconsin, species other than alfalfa account for two-thirds or 38.062 million of those acres while alfalfa is grown on an estimated 18.065 million acres in the United States this year.

Potato acreage was also included in the latest crop report. Wisconsin's estimates of 63,000 planted acres and 62.5 harvested acres are the same as in 2015 while the national estimate indicates a decrease of about 3 percent to 911.1 thousand acres for harvest.