Corn: Area harvested and to be harvested for grain is forecast at 87.4 million acres, unchanged from the August forecast but up 4 percent from 2011. As of September 2, only twenty-two percent of the corn acreage was rated in good to excellent condition in the 18 major producing States, down 2 percentage points from one month earlier and down 30 percentage points compared to the same time last year. Fifty-two percent of the acreage was rated in very-poor to poor condition compared to only 21 percent rated in these two categories last year at this time. The September 1 corn objective yield data indicate the lowest number of ears per acre since 2005 for the combined 10 objective yield States (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin). Scattered showers and slightly cooler conditions provided some relief to later planted corn in parts of the Midwest during the first week of August but extreme heat and a continued lack of moisture in the southern and western Corn Belt continued to take a toll on the crop. As of August 5, sixty- one percent of the crop was at or beyond the dough stage, 34 percentage points ahead of last year and 31 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Twenty-six percent of the crop was dented by this time, 20 percentage points ahead of last year and 19 points ahead of the 5-year average. Six percent of the acreage was considered mature at this time. Widespread rains and cooler temperatures were reported in parts of the central Corn Belt during the middle of August but generally came too late for corn except for the immature fields. The 2012 corn crop continued to develop at one of the quickest paces on record due to the hot, dry conditions experienced during the growing season. As of September 2, eighty-six percent of the crop was at or beyond the dent stage, 21 percentage points ahead of last year and 23 points ahead of the 5-year average. Forty-one percent of the crop was mature by September 2, twenty-six percentage points ahead of last year and 25 points ahead of the 5-year average. Nationwide, producers had harvested 10 percent of the corn crop at this time, 7 percentage points ahead of both last year and the 5-year average pace.
Soybeans: Area for harvest is forecast at 74.6 million acres, unchanged from August but up 1 percent from 2011. Harvested area, if realized, will be the fourth largest on record. The September objective yield data for the combined 11 major soybean- producing States (Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota) indicate a lower pod count compared with last year, as hot, dry weather during bloom hampered development of the crop in many areas. Compared with final counts for 2011, pod counts are down in all published States. The largest decrease from 2011's final pod count is expected in Nebraska, down 735 pods per 18 square feet. As the month of July ended, 55 percent of the soybean crop was setting pods, 20 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Development of the crop continued to progress ahead of normal throughout the month of August and by August 26, ninety-six percent of the soybean crop was at or beyond the pod- setting stage, 6 points ahead of last year and 5 points ahead of normal. By September 2, nineteen percent of the Nation's crop was dropping leaves, 14 percentage points ahead of last year's pace and 10 points ahead of normal. As of September 2, thirty percent of the United States soybean crop was rated in good to excellent condition, 26 percentage points behind the same week in 2011. During August, good to excellent ratings decreased across the western Corn Belt and into the northern and central Great Plains, but increased in 11 of the 18 published States as beneficial rain fell during the month. Increases in condition ratings of 10 points or more occurred in Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee during August. If realized, the forecasted yield in Arkansas, Mississippi, and North Carolina will be a record high.
Cotton: Area planted to Upland cotton is estimated at 12.1 million acres, down 2 percent from June and down 16 percent from last year. Harvested area is expected to total 10.2 million acres, down 4 percent from last month but up 11 percent from 2011. Pima cotton planted area is estimated at 239,000 acres, up 2 percent from June but down 22 percent from last year. Expected harvested area, at 237,400 acres, is down 22 percent from 2011. As of September 2, forty-two percent of the cotton acreage was rated in good to excellent condition compared with 28 percent this time last year. Thirty-six percent of the crop had bolls opening by September 2, one percentage point behind last year but 6 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. The Southeast received scattered precipitation throughout the month, improving cotton condition in many areas. Hurricane Isaac made landfall in late August bringing large amounts of rain to parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Record high yields are forecast in Arizona, California, Florida, and Georgia. In Texas, objective yield data forecasted boll weights to be higher than last year but below the 10-year average. Ginnings totaled 472,800 running bales prior to September 1, compared with 822,350 running bales ginned prior to the same date last year.