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AFBF: Cool, wet spring delays corn planting

Cool and wet spring weather across much of the eastern Corn Belt has delayed planting in many states which could mean a drop of as much as 2 million acres in corn acreage this year, according to American Farm Bureau Federation economist Terry Francl.

"Farmers in many of the top corn producing states are all telling the same story," Francl said. "This year's wet and cold spring has significantly delayed planting, and they need warm and dry weather so they can get into the fields and plant their crops. In some parts of the country, soil temperatures are still too low to germinate seed."

As of May 10, corn planting was only 48 percent complete, compared to the five-year average of 71 percent.

"Analysts are currently thinking corn-planted acreage may be reduced up to 1 million acres, and if the rain delays and cool weather continue for another week or two, acreage could drop by as much as 1.5 million to 2 million acres," Francl said. "Most of those acres will be shifted to soybeans."

Francl said the Agriculture Department's May World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) released May 12 showed no adjustment in corn-planted acreage, despite the planting delays. The May WASDE pegs corn planting at 85 million acres.

Francl said the May WASDE report suggests tighter supplies for all major crops for the current crop year (2008/2009) and the next crop year (2009/2010) than previously anticipated.

"This is an important report because the World Agricultural Outlook Board made its first projection for the 2009/2010 crops that takes into account current conditions," Francl said.

The full May WASDE report can be found at: http://www.usda.gov/oce/commodity/wasde/index.htm.

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