Corn Production Down Slightly from September Forecast
Soybean Production Up 9 Percent
Cotton Production Up 1 Percent
Corn production is forecast at 10.7 billion bushels, down slightly from the September forecast and down 13 percent from 2011. This represents the lowest production in the United States since 2006. Based on conditions as of October 1, yields are expected to average 122.0 bushels per acre, down 0.8 bushel from the September forecast and 25.2 bushels below the 2011 average. If realized, this will be the lowest average yield since 1995. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 87.7 million acres, up less than 1 percent from the September forecast and up 4 percent from 2011. Acreage updates were made in several States based on administrative data.
Soybean production is forecast at 2.86 billion bushels, up 9 percent from September but down 8 percent from last year. Based on October 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 37.8 bushels per acre, up 2.5 bushels from last month but down 4.1 bushels from last year. Compared with last month, yield forecasts are higher or unchanged across all States. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at 75.7 million acres, up 1 percent from September and up 3 percent from last year. Acreage updates were made in several States based on administrative data.
All cotton production is forecast at 17.3 million 480-pound bales, up 1 percent from last month and up 11 percent from last year. Yield is expected to average 795 pounds per acre, up 5 pounds from last year. Upland cotton production is forecast at 16.6 million 480-pound bales, up 13 percent from 2011. Pima cotton production, forecast at 657,000 bales, was carried forward from last month.
September Agricultural Summary
September brought near to above average temperatures to much of the United States, promoting crop development and aiding a rapid fieldwork pace. Most notably, temperatures in portions of the West reached as many as 6 degrees above average. Precipitation in most regions from the Great Lakes westward totaled less than 25 percent of normal, leading to further declines in crop conditions and soil moisture levels, while at the same time delaying the start of overwintered small grain seeding. Elsewhere, late-summer and early-fall storms brought beneficial moisture to portions of southern Great Plains and most areas east of the Mississippi River.
As September began, hot, dry weather in the Great Plains and western Corn Belt helped to maintain rapid phenological development of this year's corn crop. With denting nearing completion in many locations, 41 percent of the Nation's corn crop was at or beyond the mature stage by September 2, twenty-six percentage points ahead of last year and 25 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Early-month rainfall in portions of the eastern Corn Belt limited fieldwork, while helping to recharge soil moisture levels. Iowa producers focused on harvesting fields with weaker stalks or wind damage during the week ending September 9.
Nationally, favorable weather conditions had pushed crop maturity to 76 percent complete by September 16, the quickest maturity pace since 1987 when 80 percent of the corn crop was at or beyond the mature stage. In Iowa, consistently dry weather provided ample time for fieldwork, and by September 23, harvest was reported as being over three weeks ahead of normal. Aided by mild, mostly dry weather in the Midwest, corn producers were harvesting the Nation's crop at one of the quickest paces on record. By month's end, 54 percent of the crop had been combined, 36 percentage points ahead of last year and 34 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Overall, 25 percent of the corn crop was reported in good to excellent condition on September 30, compared with 22 percent on September 2 and 52 percent from the same time last year.
While the beginning of September found soybean producers in areas of the Corn Belt hoping that late-season rainfall would benefit pod fill in late-planted fields, leaf drop advanced to 19 percent complete Nationally by September 2, fourteen percentage points ahead of last year and 10 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Warm temperatures aided rapid crop maturity as the month progressed. By mid-month, many producers in the Corn Belt had completed corn harvest and switched their focus to soybeans as mild temperatures and mostly dry weather provided ample time for fieldwork. By September 16, ten percent of the Nation's soybean crop was harvested, 6 percentage points ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. Toward month's end, pods in some fields in Indiana were reported as mature; however, producers were forced to reduce harvest speeds due to stalks being too green. Favorable late-month weather conditions not only maintained rapid crop maturity, but provided ample time for a torrid fieldwork pace. By September 30, producers had harvested 41 percent of this year's soybean crop, 26 percentage points ahead of last year and 22 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average, and one of the quickest harvest paces on record. Overall, 35 percent of the soybean crop was reported in good to excellent condition on September 30, compared with 30 percent on September 2 and 54 percent from the same time last year.
While many producers waited for improved soil moisture levels before beginning fieldwork, seeding of the 2013 winter wheat crop was underway in several States by September 9. Mid month storms systems delivered much-needed rainfall to portions of the Great Plains, boosting soil moisture levels and prompting sowing in some areas. By September 23, one-quarter of the winter wheat crop was in the ground, 3 percentage points ahead of last year but 2 percentage points behind the 5-year average. In Texas, some producers were busy seeding their crop toward month's end, while others were plowing and applying pre-plant fertilizers. Unfavorably dry soils in portions of the Great Plains and Pacific Northwest led to delays in seeding and crop emergence. By month's end, 40 percent of the winter wheat crop was sown and 12 percent had emerged, both behind the 5-year average.
Following a mild winter that allowed for earlier than normal spring wheat seeding, favorable weather conditions prompted rapid phenological development throughout the summer and provided ample time for producers to complete fieldwork. By September 2, spring wheat producers had harvested 95 percent of this year's crop, 32 percentage points ahead of last year and 23 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. In North Dakota, harvest was complete by September 2, compared with last year when only 59 percent of the spring wheat crop had been combined.
Despite damaging wind and heavy rainfall associated with Hurricane Isaac in portions of the Delta, rice producers were harvesting this year's crop at one of the quickest paces on record as September began. By September 9, over half of the Nation's crop had been harvested, approximately two weeks ahead of normal. Mid-month harvest delays in portions of Arkansas resulted from early-month thunderstorms that caused lodging in some rice fields. By September 16, harvest had begun in California, but progress in the State was behind normal. With harvest virtually complete in Louisiana by September 23, many producers focused on building levees for their 2013 crop toward month's end. As harvest in California fell further behind despite fieldwork being in full swing, overall progress slowed as September ended. Nationally, three quarters of this year's rice crop was harvested by September 30, fourteen percentage points ahead of last year and 11 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Overall, 66 percent of the rice crop was reported in good to excellent condition as harvest surpassed the halfway mark during the week ending September 9, compared with 64 percent from the same time last year.
Nationally, heading of the sorghum crop was steady but behind normal as September began, with progress complete or nearing completion in many States. The most significant delay evident by September 2 existed in Nebraska, where low soil moisture levels throughout the growing season had negatively impacted crop growth. With coloring past the halfway mark and crop maturity evident in most States, harvest was advancing slowly as activity was limited to portions of the Great Plains and the Delta.
Warmer than normal temperatures promoted double-digit coloring in the Great Plains during the week ending September 9, with harvest underway ahead of the normal pace in Kansas. Near-normal temperatures favored rapid crop maturity mid-month. By September 16, forty-two percent of the Nation's sorghum crop was at or beyond the mature stage, 6 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Harvest progress remained slow but steady during the second half of the month. In Texas, harvest was ongoing in the Plains but complete in most other areas by month's end. Nationwide, 34 percent of the sorghum crop was harvested by September 30, six percentage points ahead of last year and 2 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Overall, 24 percent of the sorghum crop was reported in good to excellent condition on September 30, unchanged from ratings on September 2 and from the same time last year.
While barley harvest was complete in Minnesota and North Dakota, dry, mostly sunny weather promoted a rapid fieldwork pace in Washington during the week ending September 2. Nationally, harvest had advanced to 95 percent complete by September 9, sixteen percentage points ahead of last year and 13 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average.