Based on conditions as of Aug. 1, U.S. corn production is now forecast at 12.3 billion bushels, down 6 percent from last year, but 17 percent above 2006.

Other highlights from the Aug. 12 USDA crop production forecast show soybean production is up 15 percent from last year, cotton production is expected to be down 28 percent from 2007 and that all wheat production is virtually unchanged from the July forecast.

Corn yields are expected to average 155 bushels per acre, up 3.9 bushels from last year. If realized, this yield would be the second highest on record, behind 2004. Production would be the second highest on record, behind last year when producers harvested the most acres of corn for grain since 1933.

Forecasted yields are higher than last year in the northern and eastern Corn Belt, Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, and northern half of the Atlantic Coast where frequent precipitation this year contrasted with extremely dry weather last year.

Expected corn yields across the southern half of the Great Plains and the Carolinas are below last year due to drought-like conditions throughout much of the growing season.

Growers expect to harvest 79.3 million acres for grain, up 350,000 acres from June but 8 percent lower than last year.

Soybean production is forecast at 2.97 billion bushels, up 15 percent from last year but down 7 percent from the record high production of 2006. If realized, this will be the fourth largest production on record.

Based on Aug. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 40.5 bushels per acre, down 0.7 bushel from 2007.

Compared with last year, yields are forecast lower in Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, and across the northern and central Great Plains. In contrast, yield prospects are forecast higher than last year or unchanged across the remainder of the country, with the largest increases in Kentucky and Tennessee, up 13 and 12 bushels from last year, respectively.

Area for harvest in the U.S. is forecast at 73.3 million acres, up 2 percent from June and up 17 percent from 2007.

All cotton production is forecast at 13.8 million 480-pound bales, down 28 percent from last year’s 19.2 million bales. Yield is expected to average 842 pounds per harvested acre, down 37 pounds from the record yield in 2007.

Upland cotton production is forecast at 13.2 million 480-pound bales, 28 percent below 2007.

Producers in the Southeast region are expecting increased yields from last year, while producers in Texas expect a lower yield than the record high received in 2007.

American-Pima production is forecast at 521,800 bales, down 39 percent from last year. Producers expect to harvest 7.85 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 193,900 acres, down 33 percent from 2007.

All wheat production, at 2.46 billion bushels, is virtually unchanged from the July forecast but up 19 percent from 2007. Based on Aug. 1 conditions, the U.S. yield is forecast at 43.5 bushels per acre, unchanged from last month but 3.0 bushels above last year.

U.S. all tobacco production for 2008 is forecast at 796 million pounds, up 2 percent from 2007 and 9 percent above 2006. Area harvested is forecast at 350,440 acres, 2 percent below last year.

Yields for 2008 are expected to average 2,271 pounds per acre, 80 pounds greater than 2007.

Flue-cured tobacco production is expected to total 504 million pounds, virtually unchanged from the previous forecast and 2007. Growers plan to harvest 222,000 acres in 2008, up less than 1 percent from the previous forecast but virtually unchanged from last year.

Yields are expected to average 2,268 pounds per acre, down 8 pounds from the July 1 forecast, but 9 pounds greater than a year ago.

Growers in North Carolina, the leading flue-cured tobacco state, expect production to total 380 million pounds, up 1 percent from 2007.

Most states expect yields similar to a year ago due to dry conditions.

The August 2008 forecast of U.S. peach production is 1.09 million tons, down less than 1 percent from the July 1 forecast and 3 percent below 2007.

The initial 2008 U.S. apple production forecast is set at 9.17 billion pounds, slightly more than the 2007 crop year and down 7 percent from 2006.

U.S. grape production is forecast at 7.20 million tons, up 3 percent from 2007 and 13 percent above 2006.