What will farmers plant this year?

Despite high corn prices, farmers intend to plant 7.8 million acres of corn this year, down 600,000 acres from 2021.

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Worker Paul Debilzen surrounded by bags of seed oats at Pro-Ag in Urbank. Minnesota farmers say they plan to plant more oats this year.
Karen Tolkkinen / Alexandria Echo Press
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MINNESOTA – Less corn, more soy, a bit more hay, oats and wheat.

That’s what Minnesota farmers are intending to grow this year, according to the March 31 Prospective Plantings Report issued by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Despite high corn prices, farmers intend to plant 7.8 million acres of corn this year, down 600,000 acres from 2021.

That could be in response to the scarcity and rising cost of fertilizer, as corn depends heavily on fertilizer. Corn acres are expected to shrink nationwide, the report said.

Minnesota farmers expect to harvest more hay, just over 1.1 million acres, up 70,000 acres from last year, whereas the hay harvest is expected to drop a bit this year nationally. Drought hammered hay crops throughout Minnesota last year, as well as through many of the western states.


Farmers say they expect to plant more acres of oats – 50,000 more than last year, or 230,000 acres total. While the state’s oats crop is small compared to other crops, the state is bucking the national trend, which predicts the number of oat acres to stay level.

Minnesota farmers are also countering a national trend when it comes to wheat.

Nationally, the spring wheat crop is expected to shrink 2%, but Minnesota farmers say they will plant about 4% more than they did last year, or 50,000 additional acres, this spring. Spring wheat is primarily grown in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. The world’s supply of wheat has been threatened by Russia’s attack on Ukraine, both major wheat producing countries, and global efforts to isolate Russia.

Expect more soybeans, as Minnesota farmers intend to plant 8 million acres of this major crop, up 350,000 acres from last year.

Barley is down 5,000 acres in Minnesota, and sugar beets are down 3,000 acres, while oil sunflowers are expected to add 6,000 acres.

The Prospective Plantings report is based on surveys conducted during the first two weeks of March from approximately 73,000 farm operators across the United States with more than 3,100 from Minnesota. Actual plantings will depend upon conditions at the time.

Reporter Karen Tolkkinen grew up in Plymouth, Minnesota, graduated from the University of Minnesota with a journalism degree in 1994, and was driven by curiosity to work her way around the United States.
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