Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced U.S. farmers are on track to produce the third-largest corn crop in history.

USDA’s Crop Production report says this summer’s extreme hot and dry conditions across much of the country are hindering soybean, cotton and wheat production.

The report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) forecasts corn production at 12.9 billion bushels, 4% above last year. Crop conditions on Aug. 1 suggest that corn crop yields will average 153.0 bushels per acre, up 0.2 bushels from 2010, and the fourth-largest yield on record.

Acreage planted is estimated at 92.3 million acres, unchanged from NASS’s June estimate in the Acreage report.

Extensive drought plaguing much of the Cotton Belt indicates cotton production will be down 9% from last year.

Wheat production is pegged at 2.08 billion bushels, down 1% from the July forecast and down 6% from last year.

Durum wheat production of 57.1 million bushels is said to be down 10% from July and down 47% from 2010.

Other spring wheat is forecasted at 522 million bushels, down 5% from last month and down 15% from last year.

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