Nebraska’s corn crop on target for record harvest

images (3) A hot July has taken its toll on the nation’s crops, according to a report issued Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
But while the heat has impacted Nebraska’s crops, based on Aug. 1 conditions, the state’s corn crop is still forecast at a record high 1.6 billion bushels, 9 percent above last year’s production and 2 percent above the previous record high in 2009, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Nebraska Field Office.
In Nebraska, temperatures were hot in July, but not like the soaring temperatures in the Southwest. Also, rainfall was sufficient across the state, though the hot weather did impact the pollination process. Statewide, the area of corn to be harvested for grain, at 9.65 million acres, is up 9 percent from a year ago. Yield is forecast at 166 bushels per acre, unchanged from last year.

Nationwide, the USDA said corn production is forecast at 12.9 billion bushels, up 4 percent from 2010. If realized, the USDA said this will be the third-largest production total on record for the United States.
Based on conditions as of Aug. 1, the USDA said yields are expected to average 153 bushels per acre, up 0.2 bushel from 2010, and the fourth-highest yield on record. Acreage planted for all purposes is estimated at 92.3 million acres, unchanged from the June estimate. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 84.4 million acres, down less than 1 percent from June, but up 4 percent from 2010.
The USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, which was also issued Thursday, reported that U.S. feed grain supplies for 2011-12 are projected lower this month, with sharp drops in forecast corn and sorghum production.
According to the USDA, corn production for 2011-12 is forecast 556 million bushels lower than previously expected, with a reduction in harvested area and lower expected yields. The national average yield is forecast at 153 bushels per acre, down 5.7 bushels from last month’s projection, as unusually high temperatures and below-average precipitation during July across much of the Corn Belt sharply reduced yield prospects.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that the price of corn jumped 26 cents to $7.14 a bushel after the report was released. The AP said that’s almost twice the price paid last year. But it’s below the record $7.99 reached in June.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported earlier this week that last month was the fourth-warmest July on record in the U.S.
The average temperature across the U.S. in July was 77 degrees, 2.7 degrees higher than the long-term average (1901-2000). Precipitation averaged out to 2.46 inches, which is 0.32 inches below average, with large variability between regions.
According to NOAA, the south central part of the country probably experienced the worst weather of all. Oklahoma and Texas each had their hottest months ever. The average temperature in the south was 86.1 degrees.
The USDA’s WASDE report said that with total projected corn use for 2011-12 reduced by 340 million bushels, the feed and residual use projection is 150 million bushels lower, reflecting the smaller crop and higher expected prices. Corn use for ethanol is projected 50 million bushels lower, with tighter supplies and lower forecast gasoline consumption for 2011 and 2012. The corn export projection for 2011-12 has been reduced 150 million bushels, with wheat feeding expected to increase.
According to the WASDE report, ending stocks are projected 156 million bushels lower at 714 million bushels, with the stocks-to-use ratio projected at 5.4 percent, compared with last month’s projection of 6.4 percent. The season-average farm price is projected at $6.20 to $7.20 per bushel, up 70 cents on each end of the range.
Nebraska’s soybean production is forecast at 244 million bushels, 9 percent less than last year, according to the USDA. Area for harvest, at 4.7 million acres, is down 8 percent from 2010. Yield is forecast at 52 bushels per acre, down one-half bushel from last year.
Nationwide, soybean production is forecast at 3.06 billion bushels, down 8 percent from last year. Based on Aug. 1 conditions, the USDA said yields are expected to average 41.4 bushels per acre, down 2.1 bushels from last year.
With wheat harvest completed in Nebraska, its winter wheat crop is forecast at 63 million bushels, up 2 percent from last month’s forecast, but 2 percent below last year’s crop, according to the USDA. Area for grain, at 1.4 million acres, is unchanged from last month, but 6 percent below last year. Yield is forecast at 45 bushels per acre, up 1 bushel from last month and 2 bushels above last year.
Nationwide, the USDA said that all wheat production, at 2.08 billion bushels, is down 1 percent from the July forecast and down 6 percent from 2010. Based on Aug. 1 conditions, the United States yield is forecast at 45.2 bushels per acre, up 0.6 bushel from last month, but down 1.2 bushels from last year.
For other Nebraska crops:
— Sorghum yield is forecast at 83 bushels per acre, down 7 bushels from last year. Production is forecast at 5.4 million bushels, down 20 percent from a year ago, a result of fewer acres planted and a lower expected yield.
— Oat yield is forecast at 66 bushels per acre, 2 bushels below last year. Production of 1.32 million bushels is 22 percent below last year.
— Dry edible bean production is down 21 percent from last year, largely due to fewer acres planted. Sugar beet production is up 11 percent from 2010.
— Alfalfa hay production is forecast to be 7 percent below last year and all other hay production is down 12 percent.

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