WASHINGTON -- Minnesota is still expecting record corn and soybean crops, but the outlook for corn, soybean and cotton production remains grim elsewhere across the country as farmers in drought-stricken states near the end of this year's harvest.
The Agriculture Department said Tuesday that corn production nationwide is forecast at 9 billion bushels, down 5 percent from 2001 and the lowest since 1995. Rainfall did not delay the harvest in Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska, where yield prospects have increased slightly since October. But the prospects were lowered in Ohio, where crops were planted late because of the drought.
The corn harvest was 77 percent complete on Nov. 3.
Soybean production nationally is expected to be 7 percent lower than last year at 2.69 billion bushels. It would be the lowest soybean production since 1999. Nearly 87 percent of the nation's soybeans were harvested by Nov. 3.
But in Minnesota, soybean production is forecast at a record 310.5 million bushels, up 2 percent from the Oct. 1 forecast and up 17.4 million bushels from the record high production in 2000, according to the Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service. Minnesota's soybean yield is forecast at a record 45 bushels per acre, up one bushel from October and up three bushels from the record set in 1998 and 1999.
Minnesota corn production is forecast at a record 1.061 billion bushels, up 3 percent from the October forecast, and up 3 percent from the 1998 record year. Yield is forecast at 156 bushels per acre, up four bushels from last month and up three bushels from the 1998 record.
The state's sugarbeet crop is estimated at 8.6 million tons, down 3 percent from last month but up 10 percent from last year. Yield is estimated at 19.2 tons per acre, the same as the October forecast, but down 2.3 tons per acre from the record high in 2000. Nationally, sugarbeet production is forecast at 28 million tons, down 2 percent from the October forecast but up 9 percent from last year.
Minnesota's fall potato production is forecast at 18 million hundredweight, down 2 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 340 hundredweight, up five hundredweight from last year. Nationally, the crop was forecast at 415 million hundredweight, up 5 percent from last year.
Although heavy rainfall soaked Midwestern and Plains states last month, it hampered the harvest in the southern Plains because it saturated cotton fields that had not been picked. The October rainfall also dampened peanut, rice and sorghum fields that had not been harvested.
Cotton production is forecast at 17.8 million 480-pound bails, 12 percent lower than last year's record high. Extreme weather has continued to affect production for cotton farmers in Atlantic Coast States, such as North Carolina, as well as Alabama and Georgia.
Dry weather this year was most severe in agricultural states in the Western Corn Belt, Great Plains, Ohio Valley and Atlantic Coastal Plain.
Wheat yields also were lowered this year. The Agriculture Department predicts it will be 1.62 billion bushels, down 17 percent from last year's harvest.
On the Net:
U.S. Agriculture Department: http://www.usda.gov
Minnesota Agricultural Statistics Service: http://www.nass.usda.gov/mn
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