As the furor over food prices and all the acres converted to growing corn for ethanolÂ reaches a fever pitch, it’s worth noting that it’s a brand new spring and a brand new planting season and this year is most definitely NOT all about corn.
But don’t look for the rhetoric to tone down anytime soon. The PR machines of big oil and big environmental hoopla _ odd bedfellows indeed _ won’t be able to turn on a dime and you can’t expect right wing talk radio to pay any attention at all to the facts, let alone current events.
But here’s reality from the May 12 USDA planting intentions report. Acres are NOT being converted to corn. In fact, USDA says farmers will plant 7.6 million acres LESS in corn than they did in 2007. Iowa will see the biggest drop, down a million acres from last year’s record.
Also worth noting is the fact that ethanol production is growing at less than half the forecast rate from this time last year and the red hot pace of two years ago is now barely a crawl.
Soybeans, meanwhile, get the big acres this year, up 18 percent over last year. Wheat is up 6 percent to 63.8 million acres, thanks to the huge price hikes that have come from depleted world stocks and global weather problems including last year’s drought in Australia and the Easter freeze in Plains.
Cotton takes a big drop, down 13 perent from last year to the lowest level since 1983. You can find all the reports on Prospective Plantings at www.nass.usda.gov