Commissioner Troxler: 2018 Planting Intentions Announced

Across North Carolina, farmers are heading back into the fields, getting ready to plant their 2018 crops. The National Agricultural  Statistics Services (NASS) recently announced planting intentions for 2018, with farmers indicating they planned to plant more cotton, corn and winter wheat in 2018. Plantings of flue-cured tobacco, soybeans, peanuts and sweet potatoes are expected to be down. NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler breaks down the numbers:

  • If you’ve been out on our rural two-lane roads recently, you have probably encountered farm equipment moving between fields. It is a busy time of year as farmers are getting their fields ready for the growing season.
  • It’s a good reminder to drivers, especially in rural areas of the state, to be on the look out for farm equipment on the road and to be careful when passing farm equipment.
  • I hope folks will remember that farmers are not on the road with farm equipment because they want to be. Trust me, they are on the road in this equipment because they need to be.
  • I have heard of one accident already this season involving a car and farm equipment. I hope we don’t have any more.
  • As preparations on the farm pick up, we have also gotten word on this season’s planting intentions, and the news is mixed.
  • A glut of some commodities is playing havoc with prices, so it’s no surprise some crop plantings are projected to be down, while just a few are expected to increase.
  • Corn, cotton and winter wheat are three commodities expected to post some increases in production.
  • NASS reports that planting intentions for cotton is projected to be up 17 percent from last year, for a total of 440,000 acres. Farmers say they intend to plant 7 percent more winter wheat, totaling 480,000 acres. And corn plantings are projected to be around 900,000 acres, up about 1 percent.
  • Peanuts, soybeans, sweet potatoes and flue-cured tobacco acreage is all projected to be down, with peanuts looking at the steepest cuts in production.
  • Peanut growers are projecting a 12 percent decline in acreage at 105,000. Soybeans and sweet potatoes are both looking at a 6 percent decline in projected production, with 1.6 million acres in soybeans and 85,000 acres in sweet potatoes.
  • Projected production of flue-cured tobacco is anticipated to be down 3 percent at 158,000 acres.
  • At the end of the day, production cuts hurt growers, just like excess commodities do.
  • I hope farmers have a good season, and I hope we soon see the return of decent prices for producers.