Total U.S. cropland planted to eight principal crops this year is projected to be the lowest in more than six years, according to American Farm Bureau Federation economist John Newton.

The U.S. Department of Agri­­culture (USDA) is projecting U.S. farmers will plant 249.8 million acres of corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, sorghum, oats, rice and cotton, down 1.4 percent from 2016.

"If realized, this would be the lowest planted area since 2011, when 249 million acres were planted to the eight crops," Newton said.

Newton said the soybean-corn price ratio of 2.57 during the spring crop insurance guarantee period favors planting soybeans over corn.

"When the spring price ratio is...