WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) announced Monday that it expects American farmers to harvest 78.9 million acres of for grain in 2008.

The forecast is 9 percent below the 2007 harvest, but still the second largest harvest since 1944.

For soybeans, 2008 planted area is estimated at 74.5 million acres, the third largest on record and up 17 percent from last year. Of the planted area, farmers expect to harvest 72.1 million acres, up 15 percent from last year.

The NASS said that much of the data had been collected before much of the flooding had it the Midwest. The agency re-interviewed farmers in flood-affected states to more accurately determine how much area farmers still planned to harvest.

"While many farmers are still assessing their damage and their options, this re-interview process provided a first look at how much of the planted corn and soybeans may remain standing for harvest," said Carol House, chair of NASS's Agricultural Statistics Board. "And what we are seeing is that the ratio of acres intended for harvest, compared to acres originally planted, is off about 2 percent from what we would have expected prior the floods."

NASS's August 12 Crop Production report will contain the first 2008 estimates of corn and soybean yield and production. To help ensure that these estimates are based on the best information available, NASS will supplement its standard survey activities by re-interviewing approximately 9,000 farmers in the flood-affected areas.

The NASS also announced the appointment of Cynthia Clark as administrator of the agency. Clark will oversee the agency's efforts to collect and disseminate data on U.S. agriculture.


Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture