The annual USDA Planting Intentions Survey was released March 28, and it included some surprises for the Southeast, especially in the percentage increase in wheat and corn in several states and the percentage decrease in peanut acreage in Georgia in particular.
Corn acreage in the Southeast is predicted to increase slightly in most states, but the two biggest corn producing states in the region are forecast to go in somewhat opposite directions.
Georgia is predicted to increase production from 345,000 acres to 495,000 acres, a country-leading 43 percent increase.
And, North Carolina is expected to increase corn acreage by only three percent, despite huge reductions in cotton and peanuts and a slight reduction in soybean acreage.
Other corn producing states in the region are predicted to follow the national trend of slightly increased corn acres. Florida, Virginia and South Carolina are all projected to have a 2-6 percent increase in corn acreage in 2012.
Wheat acreage is projected to be up in all the Southeastern states, with the biggest jump coming in Georgia, with a 38 percent increase from 290,000 acres in 2012 to 400,000 acres in 2013.
North Carolina is projected to have the largest acreage increase, jumping from 830,000 last year to 960,000 acres in 2013.
Alabama is projected to have an 18 percent increase in wheat and Florida, on a much smaller scale, an increase of 15 percent.
South Carolina and Virginia are both projected to have a four percent increase in wheat acres for 2013.
The nationwide trend in cotton acreage continues to go downward, with a predicted decrease nationally of 19 percent in acreage for 2013 versus 2012. However, in the Southeast, in Georgia, the region’s largest cotton producer, acreage is expected to increase slightly.
In North Carolina, the region’s second largest cotton producer, acreage followed the national trend, with a decrease of about 20 percent projected for 2013.
Alabama and South Carolina are predicted to decrease cotton acreage by 3-5 percent. Florida is expecting a slight increase in cotton this year.
The biggest loser in acreage for 2013, according to the USDA survey, will be peanuts. Nationwide, a 27 percent decrease in peanut production is predicted.
In Georgia, by far the country’s largest peanut producing state, acreage is projected to be cut by 45 percent.
Every state in the Southeast is expected to cut peanut acreage, ranging from 32 percent in Alabama to 10 percent in Florida.
Last year the Southeast planted about 1.4 million acres of peanuts. This year the region is predicted to plant less than a million acres. Alabama is projected to plant 150,000 acres, Florida 190,000, North Carolina 80,000, South Carolina 90,000 and Virginia 14,000 acres of peanuts in 2013.
Perhaps the most surprising prediction from the annual survey comes in soybeans. In North Carolina, where large cuts in cotton and peanuts are expected, soybean acreage is predicted to fall slightly to 1.58 million acres.
Georgia and Florida, not traditionally big soybean producing states, are expected to increase acreage by 19 and 27 percent, respectively.
Alabama is expected to cut soybean acreage by 21 percent, by far the largest reduction in bean acreage in the Southeast.
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