Despite planting the largest amount of corn since World War II, U.S. farmers are NOT expected to harvest a record crop... but it's going to be close.
The Agriculture Department estimated this week total U.S. corn production will amount to 12.9 billion bushels. That's up four percent from last year and, if realized, would be the third-largest corn crop ever produced.
Hot and dry weather over the past several weeks -- particularly in Iowa and Illinois -- is likely to blame for the smaller crop. USDA pegged the national average yield at 153 bushels per acre, up slightly over 2010.
Soybean production is forecast at 3.06 billion bushels... down 8 percent from last year. Average soybean yield is predicted to be 41.4 bushels per acre, down 5 percent from 2010.
Total U.S. wheat production is estimated at 2.08 billion bushels, a decline of 6 percent from last year. Average yield is pegged at 45.2 bushels per acre, down a little more than a bushel from last year.
And the effects of prolonged drought were readily apparent in the government's cotton production estimate. Despite a 30 percent increase in planted acreage, USDA estimates U.S. cotton production at 16.6 million bales... down nearly 10 percent from 2010.