For a second year in a row, U.S. growers are raising the bar on soybean acreage. Growers across the United States intend to plant an estimated record-high 84.6 million acres of soybeans in 2015, up 1 percent from the previous record set in 2014, according to the Prospective Plantings report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Increases of 200,000 acres or more are anticipated in Arkansas, Iowa, and Ohio. Compared with last year, the largest declines are expected in Kansas and Nebraska. If realized, soybean acreage will be the largest on record in Kentucky, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Driven by expectations of lower prices and returns in 2015, U.S. corn growers intend to plant 89.2 million acres in 2015, down 2 percent from last year and down 6 percent from 2013. If realized, this will be the lowest planted acreage since 2010. Countering this trend, Minnesota and Wisconsin are both expecting an increase in planted acreage from last year.

The Prospective Plantings report provides the first official, survey based estimates of U.S. farmers’ 2015 planting intentions. NASS’s acreage estimates are based on surveys conducted during the first two weeks of March from a sample of more than 84,000 farm operators across the United States. Other key findings in the report are:
• All wheat planted area for 2015 is estimated at 55.4 million acres, down 3 percent from 2014.
• Winter wheat planted area, at 40.8 million acres, down 4 percent from last year.
• All cotton planted area for 2015 is expected to total 9.55 million acres, 13 percent below last year.
• Sorghum growers intend to plant 7.90 million acres in 2015, up 11 percent from 2014. Kansas and Texas, the leading sorghum-producing states, account for 75 percent of the expected United States acreage.
NASS today also released the quarterly Grain Stocks report to provide estimates of on-farm and off-farm stocks as of March 1. Key findings in that report include:
• Corn stocks totaled 7.74 billion bushels, up 11 percent from the same time last year. On-farm corn stocks were up 13 percent from a year ago, and off-farm stocks were up 7 percent.
• Soybeans stored on farms totaled 1.33 billion bushels, up 34 percent from March 1, 2014. On-farm soybean stocks were up 60 percent from a year ago, while off-farm stocks were up 18 percent.
• All wheat stored totaled 1.12 billion bushels, up 6 percent from a year ago. On-farm all wheat stocks were up 17 percent from last year, while off-farm stocks were up 3 percent.
• Durum wheat stored totaled 37.6 million bushels, down 1 percent from March 1, 2014. On-farm stocks were down 22 percent from last year, but off-farm stocks of Durum wheat were up 23 percent from March 1, 2014.

The Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks reports and all NASS reports are available online.