USDA projects 13-billion-bushel corn crop

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Remember when 150 bushels per acre was an outstanding corn yield? It’s now below average. Based on conditions as of Sept. 1, USDA projects U.S. corn yields to average 161.9 bushels per acre, up 2.4 bushels from August and 8 bushels above last year.

In its latest Crop Production report, the agency now projects total U.S. corn production at 13 billion bushels, up 2 percent from last month and 7 percent higher than 2008.

If realized, this will be the highest yield on record and production will be the second largest, behind 2007. The agency predicts farmers will harvest 80 million acres of corn for grain, up from 78.6 million last year.

Yield forecasts increased from last month across the western Corn Belt and the northern half of the Great Plains as mild temperatures and adequate soil moisture supplies provided favorable growing conditions. Yield prospects were unchanged in the eastern Corn Belt where dry conditions during August depleted soil moisture supplies.

USDA also increased its forecast for soybeans, predicting a record harvest of 3.25 billion bushels, up 1 percent from the August forecast and up 10 percent from last year. Based on Sept. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 42.3 bushels per acre, up 0.6 bushel from last month and up 2.7 bushels from 2008. 

If realized, this will be the third highest yield on record. Compared with last month, yields are forecast higher or unchanged in all states except Indiana, where the yield is expected to be down 2 bushels. 

The largest increases in yield from the August forecast are expected in Alabama and Maryland, up 5 and 6 bushels, respectively.  If realized, the forecasted yield in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi will be a record high and the forecasted yield in Nebraska, North Carolina, and Ohio will tie the previous record high. Area for harvest in the U.S. is forecast at 76.8 million acres, up slightly from June and up 3 percent from 2008.

The full report is available from USDA.

Note: John Maday is the managing editor of Drovers, a sister publication to Dairy Herd Management.



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