KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- U.S. farmers will plant a record soybean crop this year while also boosting corn acres by 3 percent, according to an Agriculture Department estimate.

The increases could boost year-end reserves of the major food crops and ease fears of food shortages after high demand from the ethanol industry and overseas consumers drew down supplies two years ago.

Crop futures fell Wednesday morning on the Chicago Board of Trade after the USDA estimate was released. Soybeans for May delivery fell 38 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $9.36 a bushel, and corn was down 8.5 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $3.46 a bushel. Wheat fell 10.5 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $4.615 a bushel.

The wheat crop is estimated at 53.8 million acres, down 9 percent from last year. The cotton crop is forecast to rise 15 percent to 10.5 million acres.

Farmers plan to plant a record 78.1 million acres of soybeans in 2010, and 88.8 million acres of corn. Soybean acres are up less than 1 percent.

Copyright 2010 The AP.

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