The U.S. soybean crop continues to build toward a new record, along with expected record yields for several southern states, according to USDA’s Sept. 11 Crop Production Report. USDA also increased production estimates over last month for corn, cotton and rice.

Soybean production is forecast at a record high 3.25 billion bushels, up 1 percent from the August forecast and up 10 percent from last year. Based on Sept. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 42.3 bushels per acre, up 0.6 bushel from last month and up 2.7 bushels from 2008. If realized, this will be the third highest yield on record. Yields were forecast higher or unchanged in all states except Indiana, where the yield is expected to be down 2 bushels.

The largest increases in yield from the August forecast are expected in Alabama and Maryland, up 5 and 6 bushels, respectively. If realized, the forecasted yield in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi will be records and the forecasted yield in Nebraska, North Carolina, and Ohio will tie previous records. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at 76.8 million acres, up slightly from June estimates and up 3 percent from 2008.

Corn production is forecast at 13 billion bushels, up 2 percent from last month and 7 percent higher than 2008. Based on conditions as of Sept. 1, yields are expected to average 161.9 bushels per acre, up 2.4 bushels from August and 8 bushels above last year. If realized, this will be the highest yield on record and production will be the second largest behind 2007.

USDA says yield forecasts increased from last month across the western Corn Belt and the northern half of the Great Plains as mild temperatures and adequate soil moisture supplies provided favorable growing conditions. Yield prospects were unchanged in the eastern Corn Belt where dry conditions during August depleted soil moisture supplies.

Cotton production was forecast at 13.4 million bales, up 2 percent from last month and up 5 percent from last year. Upland cotton production was forecast at 13.1 million bales, up 2 percent from last month and up 6 percent from last year. Producers in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee are expecting record high yields.

Expected cotton yields were increased from last month from 875 pounds to 960 pounds for Mississippi; from 1,061 pounds to 1, 132 pounds for Missouri; from 858 pounds to 864 pounds for Louisiana; from 916 pounds to 960 pounds for Tennessee; and from 1,025 pounds to 1,056 pounds for Arkansas. Expected yields for Texas, the largest cotton growing state this year, was unchanged from last month at 710 pounds.

The American-Pima production forecast, at 367,000 bales, was unchanged from last month.

U.S. rice production in 2009-10 is forecast at 217.9 million hundredweight, up 6.8 million from last month due to both an increase in area harvested and yield. Harvested area is estimated at 3.1 million acres, up 91,000 acres from the August estimate. The average yield is estimated at 7,051 pounds per acre, up 12 pounds per acre. Long-grain production is estimated at 153.3 million hundredweight, up 2.9 million from last month, while combined medium- and short-grain production is estimated at 64.7 million hundredweight, up 3.9 million from a month ago.

e-mail: erobinson@farmpress.com