Minnesota farmers intend to plant a record number of acres with corn this year, as the outlook for the crop is particularly profitable.
Corn planting will cover an estimated 8.7 million acres, up 7 percent from last year, according to a Friday report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nationally, corn acreage will be the highest since 1937.
In Minnesota, the gain in corn acreage appears to be coming at the expense of soybean and spring wheat plantings. Growers of soybeans, who often also grow corn, say they'll plant 6.9 million acres in Minnesota, down 3 percent from a year ago.
Minnesota farmers plan to sow 1.4 million acres of spring wheat, down 10 percent from a year ago, according to the USDA.
Corn prices and soybean prices are historically high, but corn appears to be a considerably more profitable crop in the Midwest this year.
Tom Neher, a vice president at lender AgStar Financial in Rochester, said that at current prices southern Minnesota farmers can make about $130 per acre on corn compared with $60 per acre on soybeans, because corn has higher yields.
The price of corn, soybeans and wheat all surged Friday as another USDA report showed that U.S. grain and oilseed supplies are tighter than analysts expected.
Corn prices rose the most since June 2010, with corn futures for May delivery on the Chicago Board of Trade jumping 40 cents -- the daily limit -- to $6.44 a bushel.
On the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, spring wheat futures jumped the most in 10 months. Not only are many farmers opting out of spring wheat for corn this year -- potentially lowering supply -- but stocks of all wheat are down 16 percent from a year ago.
Spring wheat is grown particularly in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Montana.
If grain and oilseed prices remain high, prices for packaged food makers are likely to rise, and ultimately consumers could feel the effect in the supermarket.
Bloomberg News contributed to this report. Mike Hughlett 612-673-7003