A record U.S. soybean crop is in the making, and U.S. corn producers are on the way to producing the second largest crop on record, according to USDA’s August 12 Crop Production report. The report was based on conditions as of August 1 and is the first survey-based report of the year.

Soybean production is forecast at a record high 3.2 billion bushels, up 8% from last year. Yields are expected to average 41.7 bu./acre, up 2.1 bushels from 2008. If realized, this will tie for the fourth highest yield on record.

With the exception of Illinois, soybean yields are forecast higher or unchanged from last year across the Corn Belt and Great Plains. The largest increase in yield is expected in Ohio, up 11 bushels from 2008.

In contrast, yield prospects are forecast lower than last year in Alabama, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at 76.8 million acres, up slightly from June and up 3% from 2008.

Corn production is forecast at 12.8 billion bushels, up 5% from last year, but 2% lower than 2007. Yields are expected to average 159.5 bu./acre, up 5.6 bushels from last year. If realized, this will be the second highest yield on record, behind 2004, and production will be the second largest, behind 2007.

Forecasted yields are higher than last year across the central Great Plains and western Corn Belt where mild temperatures and adequate soil moisture supplies provided favorable growing conditions. Expected yields were also higher across much of the Ohio and Tennessee valleys and Atlantic Coast where beneficial moisture this year contrasted with exceptionally dry conditions last year. Yield prospects are lower in the central Corn Belt where excessive spring moisture delayed planting, and below normal temperatures slowed corn emergence and development. Growers expect to harvest 80 million acres for grain, down 100,000 acres from June, but up 2% from last year.

All wheat production, at 2.18 billion bushels, is up 3% from the July forecast, but down 13% from 2008. Yields are forecast at 43.3 bu./acre, up 1.4 bushels from last month but 1.6 bushels below last year.

Winter wheat production is forecast at 1.54 billion bushels, up 1% from last month, but down 18% from 2008. The U.S. yield is forecast at 44.2 bu./acre, up 0.4 bushel from last month, but down 3 bushels from last year. The area expected to be harvested for grain totals 34.8 million acres, unchanged from last month, but down 12% from last year.