The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) forecasts that U.S. corn growers will produce a record-high 13.8 billion bushels of corn in 2013, according to its Crop Production report issued today. The forecast production is up 28% from drought-hit 2012.

The early planting season was not very favorable for corn growers this year, as they were hampered by abnormally wet and cold spring weather. By April 28, only 5% of corn had been planted. In mid-May, however, the weather became more favorable, allowing producers to speed up their planting pace and tie the previous single-week planting record by getting 43% of the total crop in the ground during the week ending May 19. U.S. growers wrapped up planting corn by mid-June, with 97.4 million acres planted.  

With 64% of the U.S. corn crop rated in good to excellent condition as of Aug. 4, corn crop condition remains significantly higher than at this time last year. Based on these conditions, NASS forecasts this year’s corn yield at 154.4 bushels per acre, the third-highest yield on record.

 

Second-Largest Soybean Crop

U.S. soybean production is forecast at 3.26 billion bushels in 2013, up 8% from last year. NASS forecasts 76.4 million acres of soybeans for harvest this year. If realized, this will be the second-largest harvested acreage on record. Similar to corn growers, soybean producers were hampered by the unfavorable weather during the planting season. Planting of this year’s soybean crop wasn’t underway in all 18 major soybean-growing states until mid-May. Improved weather in June allowed soybean growers to speed up their planting, and by June 30, growers had 96% of the crop in the ground. Based on Aug. 1 conditions, soybean yields are expected to average 42.6 bushels per acre, up 3 bushels from 2012.

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Today’s report also included the first production forecast for U.S. cotton. NASS forecasts all cotton production at 13.1 million 480-pound bales, down 25% from last year. Yield is expected to average 813 pounds per harvested acre, down 74 pounds from last year.

Wheat production is forecast down from 2012. According to the report, all wheat production is expected to total 2.11 billion bushels this year, down 7% from 2012. Based on Aug. 1 conditions, NASS forecasts the wheat yield at 46.2 bushels per acre, down slightly from last year.

NASS interviewed more than 24,000 producers across the country in preparation for this report. The agency also conducted field and lab measurements on corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton in the major crop-producing states, which usually account for about 75% of U.S. production.

NASS is also gearing up to conduct its September Agricultural Survey, which will focus on wheat, barley, oats and rye growers. That survey will take place during the first two weeks of September.

The Crop Production report is published monthly and is available online at www.nass.usda.gov.

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