Nebraska farmers are expected to plant less corn and more soybeans than they did last year.
A report released Wednesday by U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts that the state’s farmers will plant 9.9 million acres of corn, about 3% less than in 2020. But they will plant considerably more soybeans, with 5.5 million acres forecast, a 6% increase over last year.
Overall, the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service is predicting Nebraska farmers will plant slightly more than 19.8 million acres of all crops, about the same as the 19.78 million planted last year.
While the U.S. as a whole is forecast to plant slightly more corn this year, the top-producing states are all forecast to see declines. Iowa, the top corn-producing state, is expected to plant 3% fewer acres.
The prices for both corn and soybeans have been at multiyear highs recently, with corn hitting an eight-year high this month and soybeans hitting a seven-year high. A number of factors, including higher yields, more overseas buying and fewer crops in storage, have helped drive the increases.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss said that even though both crops have seen strong price gains over the past year, soybeans have increased more, so “it is not surprising to see shifting from corn to soybeans,” he said.
Cory Walters, an associate professor of agricultural economics at UNL, said that after a couple of rough years, the decision for many farmers may simply come down to how much investment they have to make in each crop.
It costs more than $770 an acre to plant corn and slightly less than $600 an acre to plant soybeans, he said.
“It’s just cheaper to plant soybeans,” Walters said.
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