Arkansas farmers will pay more per acre to grow cotton, rice and soybeans, but the costs will decline for wheat, sorghum and corn, according to estimates from the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

The cost of production includes inputs such as seed, fertilizers, chemicals, energy costs, allocated labor, custom services, and direct supplies.

Fertilizer prices are expected to remain the same or decrease for 2010, but fuel prices are expected to rise, according to Scott Stiles, Extension agricultural economist-risk management for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

“Agricultural input prices have increased more than 50 percent since 2001, with input prices increasing steadily during 2001-2007,” said Archie Flanders, an assistant professor of agricultural economics for the Division of Agriculture. “There was a sharp price increase in 2008, followed by a price plateau.”

Producers have to balance costs with the potential selling price. Those decisions by growers shape the state’s acreage.

The March 31 Arkansas Prospective Plantings Report, based on surveys done by USDA in the first two weeks of March, shows an increase in rice acres, but decreases in corn, soybeans and winter wheat. The report projects cotton and sorghum acreage remaining unchanged.

The National Agriculture Statistics Service projected acreage, and projected cost of production per crop as estimated by the Division of Agriculture:

• Corn — 410,000 acres, down 5 percent from 430,000 acres in 2009. Arkansas average cost per acre for production inputs is estimated at $372 per acre, down slightly from $374 last year.

• Cotton — 520,000 acres, unchanged from 2009. Arkansas average cost per acre for production inputs is estimated at $429, compared with $419 last year.

• Rice — 1.63 million acres, up 10 percent from 2009’s 1.49 million acres. Arkansas average cost per acre for production inputs is estimated at $463 per acre, up from $454 per acre last year.

• Sorghum — 40,000 acres, unchanged from last year. Arkansas average cost per acre for production inputs is estimated at $210, down slightly from last year’s $214.

• Soybeans — 3.3 million acres, down 4 percent from 3.42 million acres in 2009. Arkansas average cost per acre for production inputs is estimated at $241 per acre, up from last year’s $235.

• Wheat — 210,000 acres, down 51 percent from last year’s 430,000 acres. Arkansas average cost per acre for production inputs is estimated at $167 per acre, down slightly from $170 last year.