According to USDA’s June 30 acreage survey, Mid-South cotton producers have planted almost 4 million acres of cotton this year, 13 percent more than last year. U.S. cotton plantings for 2005 are expected to total 14 million acres, 3 percent above last year.

USDA also projected slightly higher corn plantings and fewer acres of soybeans and rice.

Cotton producers in California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, New Mexico and Texas decreased acreage from last year. Growers in all other cotton-producing states increased or planted the same acreage as 2004.

American-Pima cotton growers planted 266,000 acres, up 7 percent from 2004. The increase is primarily in California, where producers planted 15,000 more Pima acres than last year.

In the Mid-South, producers planted 3.88 million acres to cotton, an increase of 13 percent and 1 percent more than they had originally intended in March. Nearly all planting was complete by the end of the May.

All states except Louisiana reported at least 65 percent of the crop in good or excellent condition. Only 46 percent of Louisiana’s crop was rated good or excellent due to thrips infestations migrating from mature wheat fields.

U.S. rice acreage is estimated at 3.31 million acres, down from last year’s 3.35 million acres. Declines occurred in Louisiana, from 538,000 acres to 530,000 acres, Texas, from 222,000 acres to 201,000 acres, and California, from 595,000 acres to 521,000 acres. Arkansas increased its plantings from 1.56 million acres to 1.62 million acres. Mississippi increased from 235,000 acres to 245,000 acres, while Missouri rice acreage was unchanged from 2004 at 196,000 acres.

Corn planted area is estimated at 81.6 million acres, up 1 percent from 2004 and 4 percent above 2003. The plantings are 179,000 acres above USDA’s March plantings report. Dry conditions during April and May provided favorable planting conditions across much of the Corn Belt, which allowed planting to progress well ahead of normal. Similar conditions prevailed in the northern and southern Great Plains.

Farmers responding to the survey indicated that over 99 percent of corn acreage had been planted at the time of the interview, compared with the average of 97 percent for the past 10 years. This is the largest corn acreage since 1985, when 83.4 million acres were planted.

Soybean planted area is estimated at 73.3 million acres, down 3 percent from last year’s record high acreage. Planted area is down 607,000 acres from the March plantings report.

Farmers reported that 91 percent of the intended soybean acreage had been planted at the time of the survey, compared with the average of 78 percent for the past 10 years.

Wheat planted area is estimated at 58.1 million acres, down 3 percent from 2004. Harvested area is expected to total 50.4 million acres, up 1 percent from last year.

e-mail: erobinson@primediabusiness.com