We haven’t put a lid on 2011 yet, but that doesn’t mean the great guessing game of 2012 has not already begun.
All eyes will be on the 2012 crop. And early projections are the ag sector is gearing up for more acreage in 2012. “Prospects for the 2012 crop begin with expectations about planted and harvested acreage for all crops and for individual crops. Anticipating total planted acreage is made difficult by the fact that planted acreage varies considerably from year to year,” according to Darrel Good, University of Illinois Extension economist.
“In general, an increase in total acreage is expected next year due to the large area of prevented plantings in 2011. The USDA’s Farm Service Agency reports 9.6 million acres of prevented plantings in 2011, up from 6.9 million in 2009 and 4.2 million in 2008,” Good says. (Full release here.)
Another reason to expect an increase in crop acreage in 2012 is the net decline of 1.6 million acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program in 2011. It is not clear how much of that acreage will be planted in the fall of 2011 or spring of 2012, but some of that acreage will likely come back into crop production, Good says.
Of course, planting and growing season weather next year will have a major impact on actual numbers, and a sudden change in commodity prices could also influence final acres.
But at least early on, it appears we could be in for a lot of fieldwork in 2012.
What that means for individual farmers will vary, but one thing is certain: those who take full advantage of preseason maintenance programs and are fully prepared when the weather breaks will be able to handle the added workload. Breakdowns are a major headache any time of the year, but if you want to run more acres, you’ll need to keep those breakdowns to a minimum.
So are you planning to farm more acres next year?