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Corn, soybean production down, but not wheat and cotton

By JERRY HAGSTROM

The Agriculture Department announced today that drought-plagued U.S. corn growers are forecast to produce 13 percent less corn and 12 percent less soybeans than in 2011, but wheat production is steady and cotton production is up.

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service said today that U.S. corn growers are expected to harvest 87.4 million acres in 2012, down 2 percent from June estimates. Production is expected to be 10.8 billion bushels and based on conditions as of August 1, corn yields are expected to average 123.4 bushels per acre, down 23.8 bushels from last year.

Soybean production is forecast at 2.69 billion bushels, down 12 percent from 2011. Soybean yield is expected to average 36.1 bushels per acre, down 5.4 bushels from the 2011 crop.

In contrast to corn and soybeans, all wheat production remains largely unaffected by the drought and is forecast at 2.27 billion bushels, up 13 percent from 2011, the agency said. Based on August 1 conditions, the yield for all wheat is forecast at 46.5 bushes per acre, up 0.9 bushel from last month, and up 2.8 bushels up from last year. Harvest in the 18 major producing states was 85 percent complete by July 29.

Cotton growers are forecast to produce 17.7 million 480-pound bales this growing season, up 13 percent from 2011. Producers expect to harvest 10.8 million acres of all cotton, up 14 percent from last year. This forecast includes 10.6 million acres of Upland cotton and 233,400 acres of Pima cotton.