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USDA Crop Production


11 December 2012

USDA Crop Production - December 2012USDA Crop Production - December 2012

All cotton production is forecast at 17.3 million 480-pound bales, down 1 percent from last month but up 11 percent from last year.
USDA Crop Production Report

Yield is expected to average 793 pounds per acre, up 3 pounds from last year. Upland cotton production is forecast at 16.6 million 480-pound bales, up 13 percent from 2011. Pima cotton production, forecast at 657,000 bales, was carried forward from last month.

November Agricultural Summary

November temperatures were near- to above-average throughout much of the country, aiding crop maturity in remaining row crops but – when coupled with below average moisture – maintaining stress on recently sown winter wheat. Conversely, monthly averages in States along the Atlantic Coast were 6 degrees or more below normal. Monthly moisture totals were well below average across much of the United States. Most notably, areas in the central and southern Great Plains received less than 5 percent of their normal November precipitation, limiting seed germination and growth of the 2013 winter wheat crop.

Following an early start to spring planting and rapid crop development throughout the summer, corn producers had harvested 95 percent of this year’s crop by November 4, ten percentage points ahead of last year, 24 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average, and the quickest harvest pace since 1987. As the month began, saturated fields resulting from Hurricane Sandy limited fieldwork in portions of Ohio and Pennsylvania; however, overall progress remained ahead of normal.

Sorghum maturity was 97 percent complete by November 4, two percentage points ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. Above average early-month temperatures coupled with below average rainfall promoted a rapid harvest pace in portions of the Great Plains and Four Corners regions. By November 18, producers had harvested 95 percent of the Nation’s crop, 4 percentage points ahead of last year and 8 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average.

Producers had sown 92 percent of the 2013 winter wheat crop by November 4, two percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Unfavorably dry conditions persisted in Kansas, leaving many recently sown fields in need of increased moisture for proper seed germination and crop establishment. In Texas, irrigation was active in some areas, while dryland acreage was beginning to show signs of drought stress.

By November 11, Nationwide emergence had advanced to 79 percent complete, 2 percentage points behind both last year and the 5-year average. Despite increased moisture across the Northern Tier mid-month, doggedly dry weather throughout much of the Great Plains maintained drought stress on the developing crop. By November 18, the most significant emergence delays were evident in Montana and South Dakota, where overall progress was 28 and 46 percentage points behind normal, respectively. Adverse weather continued to blanket the Nation’s Heartland throughout the month causing crop conditions to further deteriorate.

Most notably, good to excellent condition ratings in 7 of the top 10 winter wheat-producing States totaled 29 percentage points or less by November 25. Overall, 33 percent of the crop was reported in good to excellent condition, compared with 39 percent on November 4 and 52 percent from the same time last year. This represents the lowest good to excellent rating for this week since condition ratings began in 1986.

By November 4, rice producers had harvested 95 percent of the Nation’s crop, on par with both last year and the 5-year average. While producers in California remained busy harvesting their remaining crop, activities in the Delta and Texas centered around preparing fields for next season.

Despite late-October rainfall that saturated soils and limited fieldwork in portions of the eastern Corn Belt, soybean producers Nationwide had harvested 93 percent of this year’s crop by November 4, seven percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. With the exception of North Carolina, where a large portion of the crop is grown following winter wheat, harvest was complete or nearing completion in the 18 major estimating States by November 11.

Sunflower producers had harvested 88 percent of this year’s crop by November 4, twenty-eight percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Early-month rain and snow limited fieldwork in North Dakota, the largest sunflower-producing State, allowing producers to harvest just 2 percent of their remaining crop during the week ending November 11. Nationally, 97 percent of the crop was harvested by November 18, slightly ahead of last year and 11 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average.

Peanut harvest was advancing quickly in portions of the southern Great Plains and Southeast under sunny skies and dry weather in early November. By November 4, producers had dug and combined 87 percent of the Nation’s crop, 8 percentage points ahead of last year and 10 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. The first fall frost hit areas of the Southeast as far south as northern Florida during the week ending November 11; however, harvest remained steady. Nationwide, 95 percent of this year’s crop was harvested by November 11, nine percentage points ahead of both last year and the 5-year average.

With mild, dry weather across much of the Southeast providing ample time for fieldwork, cotton producers Nationwide had harvested 64 percent of this year’s crop by November 4, six percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. With harvest ongoing, defoliation was active in many late-planted cotton fields in northern and western Texas early in the month. Mostly dry weather throughout the Cotton Belt favored rapid fieldwork into mid-November. Where harvest was complete, producers readied fields for spring planting. By November 25, eighty-nine percent of the Nation’s cotton crop was harvested, 4 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. In Texas, harvest continued in the Plains and Trans-Pecos regions.

Ninety-one percent of this year’s sugarbeet crop had been dug by November 4, two percentage points behind last year and slightly behind the 5-year average. While harvest in Minnesota and North Dakota neared completion, rapid progress was evident in Idaho and Michigan. In Michigan, harvest gained speed as cooler temperatures delivered by the remnants of Hurricane Sandy improved conditions for long-term piling. During the week ending November 11, producers in Michigan harvested 33 percent of the State’s crop. Nationally, 99 percent of the sugarbeet crop was harvested by November 11, slightly ahead of last year and 2 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average.

Crop Comments

Cotton: Upland cotton harvested area is expected to total 10.2 million acres, unchanged from last month but up 11 percent from 2011. Pima harvested area, at 237,400 acres, was carried forward from last month.

Harvest progressed throughout the Cotton Belt during November. As of November 25, eighty-nine percent of the crop had been harvested, 1 percentage point behind last year but 4 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Record high yields are forecast in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and South Carolina. In Georgia, objective yield data forecasted boll weights to be the highest on record. Objective yield data in North Carolina forecasted a record high level of bolls per acre.

Ginnings totaled 12,271,500 running bales prior to November 1, compared with 11,668,100 running bales ginned prior to the same date last year.

Sugarcane: Production of sugarcane for sugar and seed in 2012 is forecast at 32.1 million tons, down fractionally from the November 1 forecast but up 10 percent from 2011. Producers intend to harvest 896,000 acres for sugar and seed during the 2012 crop year, unchanged from the previous forecast. Expected yield for sugar and seed is forecast at 35.8 tons per acre, unchanged from the November 1 forecast.

Harvest of the crop in Florida and Louisiana has progressed well this season. In Louisiana, wet weather slowed harvest in some areas, however progress was ahead of normal by the end of November.

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