Despite 2008's economic downturn, floods in the Midwest, hurricanes in the South and drought-like conditions in various areas, U.S. farmers produced the second-largest corn crop in history, USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) said today.
Corn produced for grain totaled 12.1 billion bushels, down 7% from 2007's 13.04 billion bushels, NASS said. The agency estimates 2008's average corn yield at 153.9 bushels per acre, up 3.2 bushels from 2007 and the second highest on record.
The 2008 soybean crop production rose 11% over the previous year, becoming the fourth largest crop on record. The average yield, however, is estimated at 2.1 bushels, down 39.6 bushels as compared to last year, NASS said.
Total 2008 upland cotton crop production reached 12.6 million bales, down 31% over 2007 and the lowest total production number since 1989. NASS estimates the average yield at 799 pounds per acre, down 65 pounds from a year before. Upland cotton production was affected by severe weather in major cotton-producing states, such as Texas and Louisiana, with weather forcing producers in these two states to abandon 1.66 million acres planted.
NASS also released its 2008 Winter Wheat Seedings report today. The planted area for harvest in 2009 is estimated at 42.1 million acres, down 9% from 2008. The wet weather posed the largest obstacle, causing delays in seeding, as compared to the 5-year average rate.
The entire 2008 Crop Production Summary, with data on all major crops, including potatoes, beans, tobacco and sugar, is available at www.nass.usda.gov.
Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.