Planted crop acres in Nebraska rose 1 percent, or 125,000 acres, this year compared to 2022 according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) crop acreage report released June 30. Planted acres in 2023, 19.4 million, fell below the most recent high, 19.8 million acres, in 2021, but still exceed the average acreage planted since 1993 of 19.1 million. Figure 1 shows the changes in acres this year compared to last year for several crops. As is typical, Nebraska farmers adjusted their plantings in response to market and climate conditions. Sunflowers showed the largest decline, down 25 percent. Winter wheat showed the largest gain, up 17 percent. Producers responded to higher wheat prices stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and global supply concerns.
Fewer acres of corn and soybeans were planted in Nebraska this spring. Corn acres are estimated at 9.5 million acres, down 1 percent, while soybean acres are estimated at 5.45 million, down 5 percent. Together, 400,000 fewer acres were planted to these two crops compared to last year. Nationally, NASS estimates 94.1 million acres were planted to corn, 6 percent more than last year, and 83.5 million acres of soybeans, off 5 percent. Some of the lost corn and soybean acres might have been converted to hay or wheat. Acres of hay increased 220,000 while acres in wheat increased 170,000. Other crops showing acreage increases include potatoes (5 percent), sorghum (6 percent), and oats (16 percent).
Yields now remain the great unknown for this year’s crop production. NASS reported 49 percent of corn acres and 43 percent of soybean acres in Nebraska were rated in good or excellent condition as of July 2—lower than typical for this time of year. The effects of drought resulted in corn and soybean production last year being down 21 percent and 22 percent, respectively, compared to 2021. Conditions have improved in parts of the state due to recent rains, but timely precipitation will be needed to avoid a repeat.
FIGURE 1. PERCENTAGE CHANGE IN PLANTED ACRES, 2023 VS. 2022
Source: USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service