ALABAMA FARMERS TO PLANT LESS COTTON, MORE PEANUTS
March 31, 2015
By Jeff Helms
MONTGOMERY, Ala., March 31— Alabama farmers expect to plant fewer acres of cotton and corn and devote more land to peanuts, according to the Prospective Plantings Report released today by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
The report predicts Alabama’s total cotton acreage will drop 14 percent this year, to 300,000 acres, and corn acreage will fall 10 percent to 270,000 acres. Farmers plan to shift some of that acreage to soybeans, which are expected to be up 1 percent to 490,000 acres, and peanuts, up 6 percent to 185,000 acres.
Alabama Farmers Federation Cotton, Soybeans and Wheat and Feed Grains Director Carla Hornady said farmers are adjusting their planting intentions based on commodity prices and production costs.
“For many farmers, it’s a matter of economics,” Hornady said. “Low corn prices make soybeans a more attractive option for some farmers, especially those who don’t have irrigation. Soaring production costs and falling prices also are causing cotton farmers look to other crops — like peanuts. In addition, we have seen increased interest in minor oilseeds like canola and sesame.”
The spring outlook for Alabama farmers reflects national trends. Across the United States, cotton acreage is expected to fall 13 percent from 2014, while corn planting is set to decline 2 percent. Soybean acres are set to increase 1 percent, and peanut acreage is predicted to grow by 9 percent.
If realized, this would be the lowest planted corn acreage in the United States since 2010 and the lowest cotton acreage since 2009.
The NASS report predicts Alabama’s wheat acreage to drop 18 percent to 210,000 acres, but oat acreage is expected to be up 20 percent to 60,000 acres. Alabama farmers also are expected to devote less land to hay, down 5 percent to 710,000 acres. For the complete Prospective Plantings Report, click here.