The 2007 U.S. corn crop was one for the record books, with 13.1 billion bushels of production eclipsing the previous high, set in 2004, of 11.8 billion bushels, according to the Crop Production 2007 Summary released Jan. 11 by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The 2007 production level was up 24% from 2006.

Driven by favorable prices, growing ethanol demand and strong export sales, farmers in nearly all states increased their corn acreage in 2007. Planted area -- 93.6 million acres -- was up 19% from 2006 to the highest level since 1944, when farmers planted 95.5 million acres. The 86.5 million acres of harvested for grain was the most since 1933, and up 22% from 2006. Those acres yielded an average of 151.1 bu. of corn -- the second-highest yield on record after 2004’s 160.4 bu./acre, and up 2 bu. from last year.

The shift to corn led U.S. farmers to plant and harvest 16% fewer soybean acres in 2007 than in 2006. A total of 63.6 million acres were planted, and 62.8 million were harvested. Soybean production, at 2.6 billion bushels, was down 19% from the record high of 3.2 billion bushels in 2006, while the average yield per acre was 41.2 bu., 1.5 bu. below last year.

For 2007, all cotton yield reached a record-high 871 lbs./acre, up 57 lbs. from last year and surpassing the previous record of 855 lbs. set in 2004. Total production came in at 19 million 480-lb. bales, down 12% from last year’s 21.6 million bales. Still, this is the fourth-highest production on record, following 2005, 2004 and 2006, respectively. Harvested area of 10.5 million acres was down 18% from 2006.

Grain sorghum production, at 505 million bushels, was up 82% from 2006, thanks to favorable growing conditions throughout the major sorghum-producing region. Planted area totaled 7.72 million acres, up 18% from 2006. Harvested acreage, at 6.81 million acres, was up 38%. Nationwide, yields averaged 74.2 bu./acre, with yield records set in Texas and Arkansas and tied in Kansas and Nebraska.

For rice, the 2007 U.S. yield of 7,185 lbs./acre is a record, topping the previous high of 6,988 lbs./acre set in 2004. Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri all had record yields, as well. Overall, 2007 rice production was 197 million hundredweight, up 2% from last year. Both planted and harvested acres were down 3% from 2006.

The full Crop Production 2007 Summary is available online at www.nass.usda.gov. The report contains year-end acreage and yield and production estimates for grains and hay; oilseeds; cotton, tobacco and sugar; dry beans, peas and lentils; and potatoes and miscellaneous crops.