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USDA Crop Production


11 July 2012

USDA Crop Production - June 2012USDA Crop Production - June 2012

Rapidly expanding drought and a record-setting, late-month heat wave severely stressed pastures and summer crops, especially from the central Plains into the Midwest and Mid-South. Monthly rainfall totaled less than 50 percent of normal in a broad area centered on the lower Ohio and middle Mississippi Valleys.
USDA Crop Production Report

June Weather Summary

By month’s end, approximately 60 percent of the Nation’s corn and soybean acreage was within an area experiencing drought, according to the United States Drought Monitor.

Drought-free areas of the Midwest were restricted to the northern and western Corn Belt. The central Plains experienced the Nation’s most persistent June heat, but the northern and southern Plains were also dominated by hot, dry conditions. Monthly temperatures averaged at least 5 degrees Fahrenheit above normal throughout the central High Plains. However, heat and dryness across the Nation’s midsection favored a rapid winter wheat harvest pace.

Most areas west of the Rockies also received little or no rain, except for unseasonably heavy showers in the Northwest. Several dozen wildfires raged in the Rockies and Intermountain West, although the late-month arrival of monsoon showers aided containment efforts in the Southwest. Elsewhere, heavy rain was mostly restricted to New England and the lower Southeast. In the latter region, Tropical Storm Debby - which made landfall along Florida’s Gulf Coast on June 26 - contributed to the overall wet pattern.

June Agricultural Summary

Above average temperatures and mostly sunny skies dominated the heart of the United States during June, providing producers ample time to complete fieldwork and boosting phenological development of this year’s crops. However, the combination of high temperatures and below average rainfall negatively impacted row crop conditions in many areas. Temperatures climbed to more than 6 degrees above normal in portions of the central Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, while rainfall accumulations totaled less than 50 percent of normal in areas of the Corn Belt, Delta, Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, and Southwest. Elsewhere, temperatures along the coasts were near to below normal. Rainfall in the Pacific Northwest, as well as Florida, Maine, and portions of the Great Lakes region totaled more than 200 percent of normal.

Following one of the quickest planting paces on record, 97 percent of the Nation’s corn crop was emerged by June 3, twenty-two percentage points ahead of last year and 14 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Scarce rainfall coupled with record-breaking temperatures created unfavorable growing conditions in many of the major corn-producing regions. Prolonged dryness led to early-month reports of rootless corn syndrome in portions of Missouri, while the need for additional moisture was evident in many Iowa corn fields with wilted plant leaves. Silking was underway mid-month, with 5 percent of the crop reported in the critical reproductive stage by June 17, three percentage points ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. Despite continually declining soil moisture levels, silking was rapid during the latter half of the month as sunny skies promoted crop development. As July began, one-quarter of this year’s corn crop was at or beyond the silking stage, 20 percentage points ahead of last year and 17 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average.

Overall, 48 percent of the corn crop was reported in good to excellent condition on July 1, compared with 72 percent on June 3 and 69 percent from the same time last year. This represents the lowest good to excellent rating for this week since 1988 when 23 percent of the crop was reported in good to excellent condition. Nearly three-quarters of this year’s sorghum crop was planted by June 3, well ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. In Kansas, planting was over a week ahead of normal as sunny skies provided ample time for fieldwork. Fieldwork continued at a steady pace in most of the major sorghum-producing States, and by June 17, ninety percent of the crop was in the ground, 10 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. Heading was underway but limited to Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas by June 17.

Toward month’s end, extremely dry conditions in South Central Texas resulted in some sorghum fields being plowed under. Elsewhere, triple-digit heat coupled with little to no measurable rainfall led to deterioration of sorghum condition ratings in Kansas. As July began, 17 percent of this year’s crop was at or beyond the coloring stage, with activity evident in the lower Delta and Texas. Sorghum fields in southern Texas were reported as growing well, with 19 percent of the State’s crop harvested by July 1. Overall, 34 percent of the sorghum crop was reported in good to excellent condition on July 1, compared with 50 percent on June 3 and 36 percent from the same time last year.

Crop Comments

Oats: Production is forecast at 65.3 million bushels, up 22 percent from the record low production in 2011. If realized, this will be the second lowest production on record. Based on conditions as of July 1, the average yield for the United States is forecast at 59.8 bushels per acre, up 2.7 bushels from 2011. Growers expect to harvest 1.09 million acres for grain or seed, unchanged from Acreage report released June 29, 2012 but up 16 percent from the record low last year. Yield increases from last year are expected in the Northern Great Plains, Texas, and the upper Northeast due to more favorable growing conditions. However, yield decreases are expected in several Corn Belt States due to hot, dry weather. Overall, the oat crop has developed ahead of normal pace in most of the nine major producing States, mainly due to an earlier than normal planting season. As of July 1, ninety-seven percent of the oat acreage was headed, 30 percentage points ahead of last year’s pace and 18 points ahead of the 5-year average. By July 1, fifteen percent of the oat acreage was harvested, 6 points ahead of both last year and the 5-year average. Harvest progress was running ahead of the 5-year average in all States except North Dakota and South Dakota, where harvest had yet to begin. On July 1, sixty-five percent of the oat crop was rated as good to excellent, compared with 59 percent last year.

Barley: Production for the 2012 barley crop is forecast at 217 million bushels, up 39 percent from 2011. Based on conditions as of July 1, the average yield for the United States is forecast at 66.3 bushels per acre, down 3.3 bushels from last year. Area harvested for grain or seed, at 3.27 million acres, is unchanged from the previous forecast but up 46 percent from 2011. As April began, barley producers across much of the country were busy seeding this year’s crop, with progress advancing ahead of the normal pace in most States. Conversely, cool spring temperatures coupled with excessively wet fields in Washington limited fieldwork. Emergence was underway by April 15. Sunny skies and adequate soil moisture levels promoted one of the quickest seeding paces on record. By May 20, ninety-eight percent of the Nation’s barley crop was in the ground, 17 percentage points ahead of the 5-year average. With the exception of Washington, emergence in the five major estimating States neared completion toward the end of May. Head development was evident in most States in early-June, and continued to progress rapidly in most locations as warmer than normal temperatures boosted crop growth throughout the month. Overall, 61 percent of the barley crop was reported in good to excellent condition on July 1, compared with 69 percent on June 3 and 76 percent from the same time last year.

Winter wheat: Production is forecast at 1.67 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the June 1 forecast but up 12 percent from 2011. Based on July 1 conditions, the United States yield is forecast at 47.7 bushels per acre, up 0.4 bushel from last month and 1.5 bushels more than last year. Expected grain area totals 35.0 million acres, unchanged from the Acreage report released on June 29, 2012 but up 8 percent from last year. As of July 1, harvest progress was significantly ahead of normal in all Hard Red Winter (HRW) States except Montana, where harvest had not yet begun. Harvest was complete or nearing completion in several States. Yield increases from last month in the HRW growing area are expected in Kansas and Nebraska, but down in Colorado and Montana. As of July 1, harvest progress in the Soft Red Winter (SRW) growing area was ahead of normal in all major producing States. Yield increases from last year are expected in several Corn Belt States and the Central Great Plains. Yield decreases from last month are expected in the upper Northeast and Southeast. South Carolina is expecting the most significant yield decrease due to tropical storm damage. Yield forecasts in the Pacific Northwest States are unchanged from the previous month’s levels.

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