The U.S.D.A.’s perspective plantings report released today shows farmers in Iowa intend to plant 13.9 million acres of corn this year – up from 13.4 million last year. Nationwide, the anticipated corn acreage is 92.2 million, which would be the second highest planted corn acreage in history.

Dick Gallagher is chair of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and a corn grower from southeast Iowa (Washington). He says the May planting report will provide a better picture of what acres farmers are planting. “This survey was probably taken at the end of February or first part of March,” Gallagher said. “There’s still a chance, depending on the weather, there could be more or less corn acres. Farmers have the opportunity to change depending on what the market is telling them.”

Ethanol and livestock producers and food manufacturers are hoping for increased yields because corn stocks are down 15% compared to last year. The 2010 average yield was 153 bushels per acre.

“I’d like to think that last year was an abnormality and we’ll be back on trend-line yields this year,” Gallagher said. “Trend-line yields are certainly going up strong…we should have stocks rebuilt.”

Iowa is the top corn producing state. There are 41 ethanol plants in Iowa which use about 60-percent of the state’s corn crop. The U.S.D.A. survey shows farmers across the country expect to plant 76.6 million acres of soybeans, that’s down slightly from last year.