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Corn Acreage Highest Since 1936 as Farmers Rebound From Drought

Corn Acreage Highest Since 1936 as Farmers Rebound From Drought
Farmer Bill Maupin verifies his planter is dropping corn seeds at the appropriate depth as he plants a field outside of Henry, Illinois on May 14, 2013. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Corn farmers in the U.S., the world’s biggest producer, planted the most acres since 1936 this year, more than a prior government forecast, as growers responded to low stockpiles with more planting.

About 97.379 million acres (39.4 million hectares) were planted, up from 97.282 million forecast in March and 97.155 million last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today after surveying farmers this month. The average estimate of 34 analysts in a Bloomberg News survey was 95.431 million acres.

Corn supplies on June 1 in the U.S., the biggest producer, fell 12 percent from last year to 2.76 billion bushels, the lowest since 1997, after the worst drought in more than 70 years cut production to a six-year low in 2012, the government said today in a separate report.

The USDA surveyed more than 70,000 farmers by telephone, mail, the Internet and personal interviews in the first two weeks of June. The questions covered 11,000 one square-mile randomly selected areas across the U.S.

Corn futures through yesterday tumbled 5.1 percent this month after the USDA forecast June 12 that farmers would harvest a record crop as output rebounds from last year’s drought and exports this year fell to the lowest since 1971. Corn for delivery in December, after the harvest, fell 1 percent to close yesterday at $5.385 a bushel.

The USDA estimated the number of acres that will be harvested at 89.135 million, down from 89.5 million projected on June 12.

The USDA also surveyed farmers about the use of genetically modified seeds produced by Monsanto Co. and Dupont Co. About 90 percent of the total acreage was planted with gene-engineered seeds this year, up from 88 percent a year earlier and 80 percent five years ago, the government said.

Corn is the biggest U.S. crop, with a 2012 value of $77.4 billion, government figures show.

Alan Bjerga in Washington at

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