A record U.S. soybean crop is in the making, and U.S. corn producers are on the way to producing the second largest crop on record, according to USDA’s Aug. 12 Crop Production report.

USDA is also projecting a cotton crop up 3 percent in size from 2008. The report was based on conditions as of August 1 and is the first survey-based report of the year.

Soybean production is forecast at a record high 3.2 billion bushels, up 8 percent from last year. Yields are expected to average 41.7 bushels per acre, up 2.1 bushels from 2008. If realized, this will tie for the fourth highest yield on record. With the exception of Illinois, yields are forecast higher or unchanged from last year across the Corn Belt and Great Plains. The largest increase in yield is expected in Ohio, up 11 bushels from 2008. In contrast, yield prospects are forecast lower than last year in Alabama, New York, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at 76.8 million acres, up slightly from June and up 3 percent from 2008.

Corn production is forecast at 12.8 billion bushels, up 5 percent from last year, but 2 percent lower than 2007. Yields are expected to average 159.5 bushels per acre, up 5.6 bushels from last year. If realized, this will be the second highest yield on record, behind 2004, and production will be the second largest, behind 2007. Forecasted yields are higher than last year across the central Great Plains and western Corn Belt where mild temperatures and adequate soil moisture supplies provided favorable growing conditions. Expected yields were also higher across much of the Ohio and Tennessee valleys and Atlantic Coast where beneficial moisture this year contrasted with exceptionally dry conditions last year. Yield prospects are lower in the central Corn Belt where excessive spring moisture delayed planting, and below normal temperatures slowed corn emergence and development. Growers expect to harvest 80 million acres for grain, down 100,000 acres from June but up 2 percent from last year.

Cotton production is forecast at 13.2 million bales, up 3 percent from last year’s 12.8 million bales. Yield is expected to average 816 pounds per harvested acre, up 3 pounds from last year. Upland cotton production is forecast at 12.8 million bales, 4 percent above 2008. According to USDA, producers in Texas are expecting increased yields from last year. American Pima production is forecast at 367,000 bales, down 15 percent from last year. Producers expect to harvest 7.77 million acres of all cotton and 7.62 million acres of upland cotton, both up 3 percent from last year. American Pima harvested area is expected to total 146,200 acres, down 13 percent from 2008.

All wheat production, at 2.18 billion bushels, is up 3 percent from the July forecast but down 13 percent from 2008. Yields are forecast at 43.3 bushels per acre, up 1.4 bushels from last month but 1.6 bushels below last year.

Winter wheat production is forecast at 1.54 billion bushels, up 1 percent from last month but down 18 percent from 2008. The U.S. yield is forecast at 44.2 bushels per acre, up 0.4 bushel from last month but down 3 bushels from last year. The area expected to be harvested for grain totals 34.8 million acres, unchanged from last month but down 12 percent from last year.

USDA’s first survey-based forecast of the 2009-10 U.S. rice crop is 211.2 million hundredweight, up slightly from last month’s projection, and up 7.4 million hundredweight from 2008-09. Average yield is forecast at 7,039 pounds per acre, up 6 pounds per acre from last month, and an increase of 193 pounds per acre from last year. Area harvested at 3 million acres is unchanged from a month ago. Long-grain production is forecast at 150.4 million hundredweight, down 600,000 hundredweight from last month, while combined medium- and short-grain production is forecast at 60.8 million hundredweight, up 800,000 hundredweight from a month ago.

e-mail: erobinson@farmpress.com