Prospective Plantings

Prospective Plantings

Maura Bennett
Maura Bennett

USDA’s latest reports for US and Colorado producers’ planting intentions are out.

Analysts admit to being a little surprised.

Colorado growers intend to plant 1.28 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2021. That’s down 140,000 acres, or 10 percent from last year's plantings, according to the Agricultural Survey conducted by the Mountain Regional Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Nationwide, acreage for all corn is estimated at 91 million acres, up less than 1 percent and 2 million acres less than analysts expected.

Recently we heard an optimistic forecast from the Executive Director of the Colorado Corn Administrative Committee who cited new markets for ethanol in the UK as well as high demand in China, Japan, and Mexico. Although the majority of Colorado-grown corn is purchased by local livestock operators, more demand nationally is good news for the state growers.

USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer spoke with the agency’s news service saying the findings are difficult to understand given the environment.

Meyer: “The economic incentives are there. I’m not sure I can explain it. “

Sorghum planting intentions total 410,000 acres, up 40,000 acres from last year. Colorado growers intend to plant 49,000 acres of barley in 2021, down 4,000 acres.

Winter wheat seeded last fall for harvest in 2021 is estimated at 2.05 million acres, up 150,000 acres from 2020.

Hay producers in the state plan to harvest 1.33 million acres this year, down 50,000 acres from the acreage cut for hay in 2020.

Growers intend to plant 72,000 acres of sunflowers this year, up 12,000. The acreage of oil varieties is expected to total 60,000 acres, up 18,000. Non-oil varieties are expected to be down 6,000 acres to 12,000 this year.

The area planted to sugarbeets is expected to be down 200 acres from last year's actual plantings to 24,000 acres. Dry edible bean acreage is expected to total 37,000 acres, down 36 percent from the 58,000 acres planted in 2020. As of March 26, mountain snowpack was 94 percent of average, statewide. Final acreages actually planted for several crops will be determined by irrigation water prospects, soil moisture levels at planting time, and changes in economic conditions between now and actual planting.

Previous ReportFunds for Agrivoltaics in Colorado
Next ReportAg Reacts to American Infrastructure Proposal