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Corn: Area harvested and to be harvested for grain is forecast at 87.4 million acres, unchanged from the August forecast but up 4% from 2011.
As of Sept. 2, only 22% of the corn acreage was rated in good to excellent condition in the 18 major producing states, down 2 percentage points from one month earlier and down 30 percentage points compared to the same time last year. Fifty-two percent of the acreage was rated in very-poor to poor condition compared to only 21% rated in these two categories last year at this time.
The Sept. 1 corn objective yield data indicate the lowest number of ears per acre since 2005 for the combined 10 objective yield states (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin).
Scattered showers and slightly cooler conditions provided some relief to later planted corn in parts of the Midwest during the first week of August but extreme heat and a continued lack of moisture in the southern and western Corn Belt continued to take a toll on the crop. As of Aug. 5, 61% of the crop was at or beyond the dough stage, 34 percentage points ahead of last year and 31 percentage points ahead of the five-year average. Twenty-six percent of the crop was dented by this time, 20 percentage points ahead of last year and 19 points ahead of the five-year average. Six percent of the acreage was considered mature at this time.
Widespread rains and cooler temperatures were reported in parts of the central Corn Belt during the middle of August but generally came too late for corn except for the immature fields. The 2012 corn crop continued to develop at one of the quickest paces on record due to the hot, dry conditions experienced during the growing season. As of Sept. 2, 86% of the crop was at or beyond the dent stage, 21 percentage points ahead of last year and 23 points ahead of the five-year average. Forty-one percent of the crop was mature by Sept. 2, 26 percentage points ahead of last year and 25 points ahead of the five-year average. Nationwide, producers had harvested 10% of the corn crop at this time, 7 percentage points ahead of both last year and the five-year average pace.
Soybeans: Area for harvest is forecast at 74.6 million acres, unchanged from August but up 1% from 2011. Harvested area, if realized, will be the fourth largest on record.
The September objective yield data for the combined 11 major soybean-producing States (Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota) indicate a lower pod count compared with last year, as hot, dry weather during bloom hampered development of the crop in many areas. Compared with final counts for 2011, pod counts are down in all published States. The largest decrease from 2011's final pod count is expected in Nebraska, down 735 pods/18 sq. ft.
As the month of July ended, 55% of the soybean crop was setting pods, 20 percentage points ahead of the five-year average. Development of the crop continued to progress ahead of normal throughout the month of August and by Aug. 26, 96% of the soybean crop was at or beyond the pod-setting stage, 6 points ahead of last year and 5 points ahead of normal. By Sept. 2, 19% of the nation's crop was dropping leaves, 14 percentage points ahead of last year's pace and 10 points ahead of normal.
As of Sept. 2, 30% of the United States soybean crop was rated in good to excellent condition, 26 percentage points behind the same week in 2011. During August, good to excellent ratings decreased across the western Corn Belt and into the northern and central Great Plains, but increased in 11 of the 18 published states as beneficial rain fell during the month. Increases in condition ratings of 10 points or more occurred in Mississippi, North Carolina and Tennessee during August.
If realized, the forecasted yield in Arkansas, Mississippi, and North Carolina will be a record high.