USDA: Nebraska corn farmers investing nearly $3 billion to plant 9.9 million acres

7131760903_cec574f57a_mLINCOLN, NE – Nebraska’s corn farmers intend to plant 9.9 million acres of corn this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today. It takes about $280 per acre to get the corn crop planted and off to a good start, meaning Nebraska corn farmers plan to invest nearly $2.8 billion this spring.

“Farmers make this multi-billion dollar investment every spring in the hope of producing more corn per acre, as they strive to improve every year,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, the Nebraska Corn Board’s director of research.

Good prices are the market signal for more corn acres, yet planting numbers can change depending on springtime weather. Last year’s March estimate, for example, was higher than previous years’ planted acres which came in at 10 million acres, the most since 1933.

Nationally, USDA said farmers intend to plant 97.3 million acres this year, up slightly from last year’s 97.1 million acres. If realized, it will be the most planted acres in the United States since 1936 when an estimated 102 million acres were planted.

“On the top of farmer’s minds is getting this year’s crop into the ground, but the below normal temperatures and lingering drought will probably delay this year’s start to the planting season,” Brunkhorst said.  “This is completely opposite of the situation farmers faced last year.”

Historically in Nebraska, farmers begin planting in mid-April and wrap up as quickly as possible in May.

On average, farmers spend about $280 per acre to get the crop in the ground and off to a good start, based on estimates calculated by the University of Nebraska Extension. Multiplied by the 9.9 million acres USDA estimates Nebraska farmers will plant this year; provides the nearly $2.8 billion investment by the state’s corn farmers. That figure does not include land costs, labor or equipment – it’s purely inputs like seed and fertilizer.

“Those are the things farmers buy every year from their cooperative or other companies,” Brunkhorst said. “If you figure a 2.5 multiplier, the full economic impact of planting reaches some $7.0 billion. Yet the economic value of that crop is even greater, when harvested and that corn is converted to meat, milk and eggs, ethanol, distillers grains, bioplastics and more. Corn is the foundation for all of that, so getting the crop in the ground and off to a good start this spring is critical. Then it’s up to the weather through the growing season to harvest.”

USDA today also reported corn stocks, or the amount of corn in storage in Nebraska and across the country. Nationally, stocks as of March 1 were 5.4 billion bushels, down 10 percent from last year.

In Nebraska, there were 589.7 million bushels in storage as of March 1, 14 percent less than a year ago. Of that, 285 million bushels were stored on farms, and 304.7 million were stored off-farm.

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