With the prices of various farm commodities being somewhat volatile, farmers must guess before they plant which will be most profitable for them at harvest. To judge from recent crop surveys more Virginia farmers are gambling with soybean, corn and peanuts in 2012 and fewer are planting as many cotton acres as they planted last year.
A survey conducted March 1 by the Virginia Field Office of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), determined soybean, corn and peanut acreages are up this year compared to 2011. Those expanded acres apparently come at the expense of cotton acres which will be down this year.
Total planted acreage in the state will be 30,000 acres above 2011.
It is estimated that corn growers will plant 500,000 acres in Virginia. That is 10,000 more acres in 2012 than in 2011. Peanut producers expect to plant 23,000 acres, which is up 7,000 acres compared to last year. Soybean growers intend to plant 590,000 acres in 2012. If realized, that planted acreage will be 30,000 acres above the soybeans planted in 2011.
Cotton producers say they expect to plant 95,000 acres this year. That is down by 18% compared to 2011.
Flue-cured tobacco growers have acreage intentions of 21,000 acres in 2012. That is an increase compared to last year's crop of 19,500 acres. Burley producers intend to harvest 2,700 acres this year, which is 700 acres more than the 2,000 acres they planted in 2011.
Virginia's oat producers intend to plant 11,000 acres, remaining consistent from the previous year. Winter wheat acres increased 19% to 320,000 acres. Barley acreage seeded last fall for all uses was 60,000 acres, down 33% from last year.
Land intended for hay production is 1,280,000 acres, down 7% from 2011.
Planting of major row crops is just in the beginning or planning stages. Therefore, producers may change their plans as the planting season progresses.