WASHINGTON — Corn remains king, but soybeans took a dent out of the farmland share this year with record-shattering acreage.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the soybean planted area is 84.439 million acres, up 11 percent from last year’s 76.533 million acres. The previous record of 77.451 planted acres was set in 2009.

Farmers surveyed for USDA’s prospective planting estimates in March had indicated 81.493 million soybean acres.

The projected area for harvest of 84.1 million acres is up 11 percent from 2013 and will be a record high by more than 7.4 million acres.

Record-high planted acreage is estimated in Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Illinois, Indiana and Iowa account for 1.75 million more acres of soybeans planted in 2014 compared to last year.

Illinois and Iowa farmers planted 10.1 million soybean acres, respectively. Illinois had 9.45 million last year, and Iowa planted 9.3 million acres.

Indiana soybean acreage reached 5.5 million this year, up from 5.2 million in 2013.

Corn Planting

Corn-planted area for all purposes in 2014 is estimated at 91.641 million acres, down 4 percent from last year’s 95.365 million and 50,000 acres below the March prospective plantings estimate.

This represents the lowest planted acreage in the U.S. since 2010. However, this is the fifth-largest corn acreage in the U.S. since 1944

Growers expect to harvest 83.8 million acres for grain, down 4 percent from last year.

Farmers responding to the survey, conducted the first two weeks of June, indicated that 98 percent of the intended corn acreage had been planted at the time of the interview, the same as the 10-year average.

Illinois, Indiana and Iowa corn growers kept their acreage the same as the previous year at 12 million, 6 million and 13.6 million, respectively.

The 2014 winter wheat planted area is estimated at 42.3 million acres, up less than 1 percent from the previous estimate, but down 2 percent from last year.

States with notable acreage increases from the previous estimate were Idaho and South Dakota. Of the total acreage, about 30.4 million acres are hard red winter, 8.50 million acres are soft red winter and 3.41 million acres are white winter.

Record high acreage was planted in North Dakota. Winter wheat acreage declined in Illinois and Indiana for 2014.

Illinois farmers planted 750,000 acres of winter wheat this year compared to 875,000 acres in 2013. Indiana winter wheat acreage dropped from 470,000 a year ago to 430,000 this year.

Iowa’s winter wheat acreage was increased by 5,000 acres to 35,000 this year.

50-50 Rotation’s Return

Mike Marron of Fithian, vice chairman of the Illinois Soybean Association, said economics and disease and pest management are among the factors moving farmers to additional soybean acres,

“The main thing is maybe the economics have been more favorable for increased soybean production in the last year or so, especially when you see the high cost of inputs on the corn side it just makes soybeans a lot more competitive for acres,” he said.

Marron noted a trend toward more soybean acres in his eastern Illinois area of Vermilion County over the past few years.

“For whatever reason, corn-on-corn has just become harder to grow for us, and I think a lot of people are saying the same thing in our area,” he said.

“So, in some cases, even though in prior years the economics favored continuous corn, we’re seeing more of a trend of going back to more of a 50-50 rotation just because of disease pressure and some issues in continuous corn.”