WASHINGTON — As U.S. farmers are on track to produce the third largest corn crop in history, this summer’s extreme hot and dry conditions across much of the country are hindering soybean, cotton and all wheat production.
This is the latest forecast, according to the Crop Production report released Aug. 11 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
Corn production is forecast at 12.9 billion bushels, up 4 percent from last year.
Based on conditions as of August 1, corn yields are expected to average 153 bushels per acre, up 0.2 bushel from 2010, and the fourth highest yield on record.
Acreage planted for all purposes is estimated at 92.3 million acres, unchanged from NASS’s June estimate in the Acreage report.
NASS reports a different picture for soybean production, which is forecast at 3.06 billion bushels, down 8 percent from last year. Based on Aug. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 41.4 bushels per acre, down 2.1 bushels from last year.
Planted area to soybeans is estimated at 75.0 million acres, down fractionally from the previous NASS estimate.
One of the largest production declines is reported for cotton as drought plagues much of the Cotton Belt. All cotton production is forecast at 16.6 million 480-pound bales, down 9 percent from last year’s 18.1 million bales.
While yield is expected to average 822 pounds per harvested acre, up 10 pounds from last year, producers only expect to harvest 9.67 million acres of all cotton, down 10 percent from 2010.
All wheat production, at 2.08 billion bushels, is down 1 percent from the July forecast and down 6 percent from last year. Based on conditions as of Aug. 1, the U.S. yield is forecast at 45.2 bushels per acre, up 0.6 bushel from last month but down 1.2 bushels from 2010.
Specifically, double-digit decreases are expected in Durum and other spring wheat production from last year due to flooding and excessively wet conditions earlier in the season.
Durum wheat production is forecast at 57.1 million bushels, down 10 percent from July and down 47 percent from 2010.
The U.S. yield is forecast at 42.4 bushels per acre, up 3.7 bushels from last month but unchanged from last year. Acres planted to Durum wheat are down nearly 18 percent from the previous estimate in June, a change based on farmer re-interviews during mid- to late-July.
Other spring wheat is forecast at 522 million bushels, down 5 percent from last month and down 15 percent from last year. The forecasted yield is 42.5 bushels per acre, up 0.8 bushel from last month but down 3.6 bushels from 2010.
Acres planted to other spring wheat are down 7 percent from the estimate in the June Acreage report, another result of the producer re-interviews.
The August Crop Production report contains USDA’s first survey-based estimates of yield and production for corn, soybeans and other spring-planted row crops.
Based on conditions as of Aug.1, Ohio’s average corn yield is forecast at 158 bushels per acre, down 5 bushels from last year’s yield of 163 bushels per acre. Total production is forecast at 525 million bushels.
Growers expect to harvest 3.32 million acres for grain in 2011, 50,000 acres more than in 2010. Soybean yield is forecast at 44 bushels per acre, down 4 bushels from the 2010 state average. If this yield is realized, Ohio’s production would total 205.9 million bushels, down 7 percent from last year.
Harvested acreage is forecast at 4.68 million acres, up 90,000 from 2010. Winter Wheat yield is estimated at 60 bushels per acre, down 4 bushels from the previous forecast and 1 bushel below the previous year’s state average. Total production is estimated at 52 million bushels, 13 percent more than the 2010 production. Acreage for harvest is estimated at 860,000 acres, up 110,000 acres from the previous year.
Ohio’s oat yield is forecast at 58 bushels per acre, down 2 bushels from the previous month’s forecast and down 12 bushels from the state’s 2010 average. Total state production is forecast at 2.32 million bushels from an expected 40,000 harvested acres.
Alfalfa hay yield in Ohio is forecast at 3.0 tons per acre, down 0.3 tons from the 2010 state yield. Total production is forecast at 1.20 million tons, down 7 percent from last year. Producers intend to harvest 400,000 acres in 2011, up 10,000 from last year. All other hay yield is forecast at 2.00 tons per acre, down 0.2 tons from 2010. Total state production is forecast at 1.42 million tons, down 10 percent from the previous year. Acreage for harvest is forecast at 710,000 acres, down 10,000 from last year.
Between July 25 and Aug. 6, NASS surveyed approximately 27,000 producers and also took objective field measurements from more than 4,500 plots of land in the major crop-producing states.
As expected, the Agriculture Department lowered the corn production forecast in its August crop report released today due to heat stress over much of the Corn Belt. Economists with the American Farm Bureau Federation continue to stress that tight supplies mean the U.S. needs every bushel of corn that farmers can produce this year.
“Analysts were expecting to see a drop in both average yield and production compared to the July report, but the yield and production numbers actually came out lower than what market watchers were anticipating,” said Todd Davis, AFBF crops economist. “This tells us we still have a very tight supply situation in corn this year. We will need a good harvest this fall to meet market demands and add to our very tight stocks.”
USDA forecast corn production at 12.9 billion bushels in its August report, which is 4 percent larger than 2010 production, and if realized, will be the third largest corn crop on record. However, the August estimate is 5 percent lower than USDA’s July crop estimate, when production was forecast to be 13.5 billion bushels. “The big drop in production, compared to the July report, is clearly due to the summer heat wave that slammed the corn crop during pollination,” Davis said.
USDA forecasts the average yield for corn to be 153 bushels per acre this year. In July, the average yield was pegged at 158.7 bushels per acre by the agency. Davis said analysts were expecting yields to average 155-158 bushels per acre. “It is a tale of two cities with the corn crop this year,” Davis said. “The western Corn Belt is faring better weather-wise than the eastern Corn Belt. The corn crop is doing better in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin, while it is below average in Indiana, Colorado, the Dakotas and the Southern states.” However, Davis said tight corn supplies are still a concern, which is why corn farmers are hoping for a big harvest this year. “USDA is pegging 2011-2012 ending corn stocks at 714 million bushels, which represents just 20 days of supply. We are on the razor’s edge when it comes to reserves,” Davis said.
Meanwhile, tight supplies are also becoming a concern for soybean farmers. USDA estimated soybean ending stocks to be 155 million bushels, compared to 175 million bushels in the July report. “This represents just 18 days of supply, which is very tight, but you have a little more wiggle room with soybeans than corn because the South American soybean crop can help make up the difference,” Davis explained. “Brazil and Argentina harvest their soybean crop when the United States plants ours, and plants their soybean crop when we harvest ours.”
Davis said the heat stress prompted USDA to lower its average soybean yield to 41.4 bushels per acre, down 2.1 bushels per acre from last year.
“The tight supply situation for both corn and soybeans is very supportive for higher prices this year. Farmers clearly have the incentive to harvest every possible acre,” Davis said.