Estimating much higher numbers than it had previously, USDA said Midwestern growers took productivity to a whole new level in 2009, culminating in record corn and soybean crops.
U.S. soybean production soared to an all-time high in 2009 at 3.4 billion bushels. The average yield also was a record at 44 bushels per acre, up 4.3 bushels from last year.
In its monthly supply and demand report, USDA increased 2009-2010 U.S. ending stocks of corn and wheat, but cut soybean estimates.
Corn ending stocks are now expected at 1.8 billion bushels, up 90 million bushels from December's estimate. Wheat ending stocks are up 76 million bushels from December, at 976 million bushels. And soybean ending stocks are now expected to be 245 million bushels, down 10 million bushels from December.
And the Agriculture Department reports winter wheat seedings at 37 million acres. That's down 14 percent from last year, making it the lowest winter wheat acreage since 1913.
With corn harvest being delayed in several northern states and soybean harvest behind in parts of the Southeast, USDA says it may update the annual acreage, yield production and stocks estimates when it releases the March 10 crop production report.