USDA’s September crop report forecasts smaller U.S. corn and soybean crops and slightly larger cotton and rice production than last month. However, crop assessments are based on Sept. 1 conditions, meaning the effect of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike on U.S. rice and cotton production may not be fully reflected.

Cotton production is forecast at 13.8 million bales, up 1 percent from last month but down 28 percent from last year. Yield is expected to average 849 pounds per harvested acre, up 7 pounds from last month but down 30 pounds from the record yield in 2007. Upland cotton production is forecast at 13.4 million bales, up 1 percent from last month but 27 percent below 2007.

Producers in Texas are expecting increased yields from last month, while Georgia producers expect lower yields due to the effects of Tropical Storm Fay. Upland growers in Arkansas and Oklahoma are expecting record high yields, surpassing the records set in 2004 and 2007, respectively. In Louisiana where as much as 40 percent of the crop may have been lost or damaged by Gustav, average yields were lowered from 909 pounds to 775 pounds per acre. The assessments for the state could change once the full effects of the hurricanes are known.

American-Pima production is forecast at 459,000 bales, down 46 percent from last year. Producers expect to harvest 9.41 million acres of all cotton and 7.66 million acres of upland cotton, both down 25 percent from last year and the lowest harvested acreage since 1983. American-Pima harvested area is expected to total 170,000 acres, down 41 percent from 2007.

U.S. corn production is forecast at 12.1 billion bushels, down 2 percent from last month and 8 percent below 2007. Based on conditions as of Sept. 1, yields are expected to average 152.3 bushels per acre, down 2.7 bushels from August but 1.2 bushels above last year. If realized, yield will be the second highest on record, behind 2004, while production will be the second largest, behind last year.

Yield forecasts are lower than last month across the northern and eastern Corn Belt and the Ohio and Tennessee valleys where the lack of rainfall during August reduced soil moisture supplies and stressed the crop. Yield prospects also decreased across much of the middle Mississippi Valley and adjacent areas of the Great Plains as dry weather during August eliminated soil moisture surpluses.

Soybean production is forecast at 2.93 billion bushels, down 1 percent from the August forecast but up 13 percent from last year. If realized, this will be the fourth largest production on record. Based on Sept. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 40 bushels per acre, down a half bushel from last month and down 1.2 bushels from 2007. Compared with last month, yields are forecast lower or unchanged in the mid-Atlantic states, the central and eastern Corn Belt, Louisiana, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Yields increased or are unchanged from the Aug. 1 forecast across the Southeast and the remainder of the Great Plains.

Peanut production is forecast at 4.76 billion pounds, up 6 percent from last month and up 27 percent from last year. Based on administrative data, planted area is revised to 1.53 million acres, up 5 percent from the June estimate and up 25 percent from the previous crop year. Area for harvest is expected to total 1.49 million acres, up 5 percent from August and up 25 percent from 2007. Yields are expected to average 3,188 pounds per acre, up 37 pounds from last month and up 58 pounds from 2007.

Production in the Southeast States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina) is expected to total 3.44 billion pounds, up 8 percent from August and up 32 percent from last year’s production. Planted area, at 1.13 million acres, is up 5 percent from June and up 26 percent from 2007. Expected area for harvest, at 1.10 million acres, is up 5 percent from August and up 26 percent from 2007. Yields in the region are expected to average 3,136 pounds per acre, up 100 pounds from last month and 147 pounds above last year.

Yields are higher than last year in Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina, while both Mississippi and Georgia expect yields to be identical to their 2007 average.

U.S. all tobacco production for 2008 is forecast at 815 million pounds, 2 percent above last month and up 4 percent from 2007. Area harvested is forecast at 356,040 acres, up 2 percent from Aug. 1, but virtually unchanged from a year ago. Yields for 2008 are expected to average 2,289 pounds per acre, up 18 pounds from the previous forecast and 98 pounds greater than 2007. Flue-cured tobacco production is expected to total 520 million pounds, 3 percent above both the previous forecast and last year.

Growers plan to harvest 226,500 acres in 2008, up 2 percent from both the Aug. 1 forecast and a year ago. Yields are forecast to average 2,295 pounds per acre, 27 pounds above the last forecast and up 36 pounds from 2007.

Yields in North Carolina, the leading flue-cured tobacco state, are expected to average 2,300 pounds per acre, up 50 pounds from August. Yields in Georgia and South Carolina decreased from last month 100 pounds and 50 pounds, respectively. Yields in Virginia remained unchanged from the previous forecast.

Tropical Storm Fay brought excessive rains to parts of Georgia and South Carolina making harvest difficult and damaging the tobacco crop in some areas.

e-mail: erobinson@farmpress.com