Times-News: More Alfalfa Acreage in Idaho, Fewer Potatoes

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Fewer potatoes and beans, more alfalfa and barley.

This morning's Twin Falls Times-News reports that Idaho growers have cut potato crops by 28,000 acres, or by 8.1 percent, compared to 345,000 planted acres in 2012.

Agriculture officials point to a cold, wet spring as the root cause of less potato acreage nationwide, which is expected to be more than 1 million fewer acres—down 6 percent compared to 2012.

Idaho bean growers also planted fewer acres—a reduction of 20,000 acres—after a 2012 bumper crop of dry beans softened prices.

Meanwhile, lower market prices are prompting growers to look at alternate crops in 2013.

University of Idaho agriculture economist Paul Patterson told the Times-News that alfalfa acreage is up in Idaho by an additional 90,000 acres—an increase of 6.7 percent. Additionally, Idaho barley growers planted 30,000 more acres in 2013—up 5 percent over last year.

Economists also said that corn acreage will be higher in 2013 than first feared. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has pegged the nation's corn acreage at 97.4 million acres, higher than market watchers were expecting, according to the Times-News.

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