The government released its latest estimates on U.S crop production Friday. As expected, the numbers revealed a dramatic shift away from soybeans and cotton. And, with U.S. farmers planting the most acres in corn since World War II, the Agriculture Department now is predicting a huge crop.
Citing abundant rainfall in much of the "Grain Belt," the Agriculture Department predicted Friday that U.S. farmers will harvest a record 13.1 billion bushels of corn this fall, up 24 percent from last year. Nationally, corn yields are expected to average 152.8 bushels per acre ... up nearly four bushels from 2006. If realized, that would be the second highest yield on record.
Soybean production is forecast at 2.63 billion bushels, down 18 percent from last year's record harvest. Soybean yields are expected to average 41.5 bushels per acre, down a little more than a bushel from last year.
Slug crop spraying (new Laurel tape)
While there have been concerns over the impact of aphids in several key soybean-producing states, many growers are spraying their fields. And most of the decrease in production is attributed to the shift in acreage to corn. USDA predicts farmers will harvest 63.3 million acres of soybeans... down 15 percent from last year.
Cotton acreage also is down due to the shift to corn. USDA says acreage will decline by 16 percent from 2006. Total cotton production is forecast at 17.3 million 480-pound bales, down 20 percent from last year.
U.S. wheat production is predicted to be 2.1 billion bushels, down 1 percent from 2006. And yields are expected to average 40.6 bushels per acre nationally, which also is down slightly.