Arkansas acreages in corn, cotton, soybeans and wheat are all expected to increase in 2011 compared with 2010, but rice will be down 22 percent, according to the Prospective Plantings report issued Thursday by the USDA.

  • Soybeans are king of row crop acres in Arkansas, with growers expecting to plant 3.25 million acres in 2011, up from 3.19 million in 2010. Nationwide, soybean plantings are down 1 percent to 76.6 million acres.
  • Rice was second, with 1.401 million acres expected to be planted in 2011, down from 1.79 million last year. Long-grain rice acres are down 26 percent, but medium-grains are up 13 percent. Short-grains were staying put at 1,000 acres. 
  • Cotton was a distant third with 630,000 acres planted, up 16 percent from last year’s 545,000 acres. Cotton acreage increases are expected in every state. The largest increase, at 548,000 acres, is expected in Texas. Acreage increases of more than 100,000 acres are expected in North Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi. Nationally, cotton plantings for 2011 are expected to total 12.6 million acres, 15 percent above last year.
  • Corn acres are expected to expand 23 percent from 390,000 acres in 2010 to 480,000 in 2011. Nationally, corn grew 105 percent to 92.17 million acres expected to be planted this year.

According to USDA, “if realized, this will be the second highest planted acreage in the United States since 1944, behind only the 93.5 million acres planted in 2007. Acreage increases of 250,000 or more are expected in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota. The largest decrease is expected in Texas, down 150,000 acres.”

  • Wheat and sorghum are both expected to more than double their acreage, wheat moving from 200,000 to 550,000 acres in 2011; while sorghum was expected to go from 40,000 acres to 100,000 acres. Nationwide, 2011 winter wheat planted area, at 41.2 million acres, is 10 percent above last year and up 1 percent from the previous estimate. Sorghum was also expanding nationally, with 5.64 million acres expected for 2011, compared with 5.4 million in 2010.

“We’ve seen a big shift over to grain production in the past few years, as producers have made investments in combines and grain bins, and cotton gins have been closing,” said Scott Stiles, Extension economist-risk management for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. “The state’s cotton acreage is down almost 50 percent since 2006.

“Some think that the pigweed resistance problem and the fact that many growers got rid of their cotton equipment from 2007-09 may temper the increase in cotton acreage. This theory is truer in the Delta, than other cotton-growing areas.”  

Among other crops, hay acreage was expected to remain the same at 1.48 million acres. Sweet potatoes also were remaining the same at 3,100 acres.

For more information about crop production visit www.uaex.edu or contact your county Extension office.