The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued its Prospective Plantings report today showing an increase in corn acres, says the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).

The report used a survey of actual farmer intentions in March to project that farmers intend to plant 92.1 million acres of corn in 2011. That’s a 5% increase from 2010 and up 7% from 2009.

Those intentions would represent the second-highest corn planting in the United States since 1944, just behind the 93.5 million acres planted in 2007.

“Even after a difficult growing season last year, farmers produced the third-largest crop and it initially shows they will produce another record crop this year,” says NCGA President Bart Schott. “This report shows that the innovative American farmer understands the increasing global demands of corn for food, feed, fuel and fiber and that they see the importance of meeting those needs.”

The USDA’s estimate for 2011 is for 92.2 million acres to be planted in field corn. Assuming a 91.7% harvest rate and the USDA’s projected yield of 162 bushels per acre, farmers will grow 13.7 billion bushels of corn from 84.5 million harvested acres.

States with projected acreage increases of 250,000 or more include Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, Ohio and South Dakota. The largest decrease is expected in Texas, down 150,000 acres, which saw a 10% increase in cotton acreage.

The actual number of planted acres will be released in USDA’s June 30 report.

Planting intentions for soybeans were reported at 76.609 million acres, 795,000 fewer than planted in 2010, according to Darrel Good of the University of Illinois

USDA’s Grain Stocks report also released today shows corn stocks at 6.52 billion bushels, 1.71 billion bushels smaller than last year’s stocks and 167 million less than trade estimates.

“Just when it looked like the rationing job had been completed, this report suggests that corn is still being used too rapidly,” Good says.

March 1 stocks of soybeans were reported at 1.249 billion bushels, 21 million bushels smaller than stocks of a year ago. Like the corn stocks estimate, the estimate of soybean stocks implies that more rationing of the 2010 crop is required.