Corn: U.S. corn for grain production is estimated at a record 13.2 billion bushels, up 2% from the Nov. 1 forecast, and 1% above the previous record of 13.0 billion bushels set in 2007. U.S. grain yield is also estimated at a record level for 2009, at 165.2 bu./acre. This is up 2.3 bu. from the November forecast and 4.9 bu. above the previous record of 160.3 bu./acre set in 2004.
Regionally, estimated yields are at record high levels across much of the Corn Belt, Great Plains and Ohio Valley. Mild temperatures through much of the growing season – combined with adequate soil moisture – provided favorable growing conditions and grain development. Record yields are also estimated for much of the upper Rocky Mountain Region, as well as the Pacific Northwest. Yields are estimated lower in the Delta due to delayed spring planting and excessive moisture during harvest.
Corn planted area, at 86.5 million acres, is up less than 1% from 2008. This represents the second-largest acreage since 1949, behind the 2007 acreage of 93.5 million acres. Area harvested for grain is estimated at 79.6 million acres, up slightly from the November forecast and up 1% from 2008.
The 2009 corn objective yield data indicate a record-high number of ears per acre for the combined 10 objective yield States (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin). All objective yield states, except Missouri, recorded record-high ear counts.
Soybeans: Production in 2009 totaled 3.36 billion bushels, up 1% from the Nov. 1 forecast and up 13% from 2008. U.S. production is the largest on record. The average yield per acre is estimated at 44 bu., 0.7 bu. above the November forecast and 4.3 bu. above last year’s yield. Planted area for the nation, at a record 77.5 million acres, is up 2% from 2008. Soybean growers harvested a record 76.4 million acres, up 2% from last year but down slightly from November.
Yields are up or unchanged from last year in all states except Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, New York and South Carolina. Despite the soybean crop developing at a slower pace than normal for most of the growing season, conditions were generally good, as most growing regions received ample moisture. Compared with last year, the largest yield increases occurred in Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio and Tennessee, where yields increased by more than 10 bu. from last year when extreme heat late in the 2008 growing season reduced yields. Meanwhile, the biggest decline from last year occurred in South Carolina, where yields are down 7 bu. from 2008 as drought conditions for much of the year combined with excessive late moisture to hamper yields. New record-high yields were set in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Ohio and Tennessee, while record-high yields were tied in Florida, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and South Dakota.
The 2009 soybean objective yield survey data indicate that final average pod counts were higher than last year in eight of the 1 objective yield states. Compared with last year, pod counts were up more than 10% in South Dakota and up more than 25% in Missouri. The only states that showed a decrease in pod counts from last year were Illinois, Indiana and North Dakota.