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Corn, Cotton & Soybean Numbers Shift in Latest USDA Production Report

Most years the August Production Report released by USDA is the final one of the growing season with significance. But, this year, the September report, released yesterday, was no less significant than the August report explains Lance Honig, chief of the crops branch for the National Ag Statistics Service:

“It has been an interesting weather year. We are looking at crops that are developing a little slower than normal as well. What people were able to learn in August wasn’t as compete as what we have known in the past. So that has increased interest in this month’s report.”

Honig says the projected corn yield, nation-wide increased in this September report:

“Our corn yield forecast now is 155.3 bushels per acre, that is 9/10 of a bushel higher than it was last month. The big story this season is the big increase over last year’s drought reduced crop. The 31.9 bushel per acre increase over last year’s final yield is also the third highest yield on record for corn. The 13.8 billion bushel forecast is record high production.”

The nation’s cotton crop has had problems all year across the cotton belt, for different reasons in different areas, and Honig says this report reflects that:

“Our cotton yield forecast is down slightly, upland at 777 pounds is the yield there, down just 19 pounds from last month. But in the west, we have increasing yields compared to last month. And in the east its a lot of declining yield. Texas as the largest producer is unchanged from last month.”

Honig says that while the Midwestern soybean crop declined, the southeastern crop improved:

“For soybeans, almost every state in the corn belt is showing declining yields compared to last month because conditions have been dry. But in the southeast, we are holding steady and in some cases better than a month ago.”

And the soybean crop continues to demonstrate how far behind it really is says Honig:

“When you start so far behind, its really difficult to catch up. The crop was just slow for so long this year.”

Honig says one thing in this report really stood out:

“In our Objective Yield Survey, where we go into the fields, when we look at corn, we are seeing a record high number of ears per acre this year. Its really what is driving the yield change from last month. But for soybeans and the data from this Objective Yield Survey, we are seeing a fairly low number of pods per acre.”

Chief of the crops branch for the National Ag Statistics Service, Lance Honig. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.