The Corn Planters Are Running! The Planters Are Running!

South of Interstate 70 and the Pennsylvania I-78 Turnpike corn planters are in the fields this week, increasing numbers by the day. Master Farmers are on the move!

Published on: Apr 4, 2012

An informal poll of Mid-Atlantic Master Farmers on Monday morning confirmed rumors. Farmers can’t stand waiting any longer during this record-warmth spring. They’re pulling corn planters into their fields this week.

American Agriculturist asked farmers attending the Mid-Atlantic Master Farmer Awards Luncheon when corn planters would be running on their farms. Some 25% of all those raising their hands said it would be happening this week. Another 37% indicated their corn planters would be running within the next two weeks. Only 37% indicated that their planters would stick to their normal planting schedule.

MAKING DUST! Corn planters are rolling this week in many fields south of Interstate 70 and south of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
MAKING DUST! Corn planters are rolling this week in many fields south of Interstate 70 and south of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

How much of what will be planted?

You’ve already seen USDA’s first national prospective plantings report for 2012 – more corn and fewer soybean acres. Farmers are expected to plant 97.2 million acres of corn – the largest since 1937. Some of that acreage will be taken away from soybeans – down slightly (1%) from 2011.

But the national numbers don’t necessarily ring true with the Northeast. Soybean acreage in New York, for instance, is expected to hit a new record. So here’s a quick look at USDA’s March planting intentions report for states reported in the Northeast based on 2011 acreages:

  • Corn: Connecticut up 4%; Delaware unchanged; Maine unchanged; Maryland up 2%; Massachusetts unchanged; New Hampshire unchanged; New Jersey up 6%; New York up 6%; Pennsylvania up 1%; and Vermont up 2%. New York farmers plan the biggest actual corn acreage increase – 70,000 acres.
  • Soybeans: Delaware up 3%; Maryland up 4%; New Jersey up 2%; New York up 4%; and Pennsylvania is unchanged.
  • Wheat: Delaware up 6%; Maryland up 4%; New Jersey up 14%; New York up 19%; and Pennsylvania down 11%.
  • Barley: Delaware up 9%; Maine is unchanged; Maryland up 10%; and Pennsylvania down 8%.
  • Hay harvest acreage: Connecticut is unchanged; Delaware is unchanged; Maine down 5%; Maryland down 2%; Massachusetts down 5%; New Hampshire up 4%; New Jersey down 5%; New York down 3%; and Pennsylvania down 3%.

What about tobacco?

Planting intentions for tobacco are generally down slightly from last year for the United States and Pennsylvania. Class 3A light air-cured type 31 burley, for instance, is reported to be down 12% in Pennsylvania. Type 32 (southern Maryland air-cured) acreage in Pennsylvania is forecasted to be down 3% from 2011.

However, Class 4, cigar filler acreage will be up 18% in the Keystone State. Class 5, cigar binder Type 51 Connecticut Valley Broadleaf is expected to be up 19% in Connecticut and down 7% in Massachusetts.