Record-High Corn Production Seen By USDA in 2013

U.S. corn growers are expected to produce a record-high 13.8 billion bushels of corn in 2013, according to the August “Crop Production” report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The forecast production is up 28% from drought-hit 2012. NASS notes the early planting season this year was not favorable for corn growers, who 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. Also, with 64% of the U.S. corn crop rated in good to excellent condition as of Aug. 4, crop conditions remain significantly higher than last year at this time. Based on these conditions, NASS forecasts this year’s corn yield at 154.4 bushels per acre, the third-highest on record.

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 unfavorable weather during the planting season. Planting of this year’s soybean crop wasn’t under way in all 18 major soybean-growing states until mid-May. Improved weather in June allowed 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.

The “Crop Production” report also included the first production forecast for U.S. cotton. NASS forecasts all cotton production at 13.1 million 480-lb bales, down 25% from last year. Yield is expected to average 813 pounds per harvested acre, down 74 pounds from 2012. Wheat production is also 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 total wheat yield at 46.2 bushels per acre, down slightly from last year.