Challenging weather conditions troubled the crop year

Feb 3, 2012
by WLJ

Hindered by unfavorable planting and growing conditions during 2011, U.S. farmers produced a smaller crop than the previous year, according to the Crop Production 2011 Summary released last week by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Depending on location, producers in the U.S. battled everything from drought and above normal temperatures to heavy rains and lowland flooding which led to decreased production of corn, soybeans, cotton and wheat— the first time such a year-toyear decrease has occurred in all four commodities since the 2002 crop year.

Corn production totaled 12.4 billion bushels, down 1 percent from 2010. Corn yield in 2011 is estimated at 147.2 bushels per acre, 5.6 bushels below the last year’s average yield. Area harvested, at 84 million acres, is up 3 percent from 2010.

Soybean production for 2011 totaled 3.06 billion bushels, down 8 percent from 2010. The average soybean yield is estimated at 41.5 bushels per acre, 2 bushels below the last year’s yield. Harvested area for soybeans in 2011, at 73.6 million acres, is down 4 percent from 2010.

For 2011, all cotton production is down 13 percent from 2010, at 15.7 million 480-pound bales. The U.S. yield is estimated at 772 pounds per acre, down 40 pounds from last year’s yield. Harvested area, at 9.75 million acres, is down 9 percent from the last year.

NASS estimates the 2011 all wheat production at 2 billion bushels, down 9 percent from 2010. The all wheat yield is estimated at 43.7 bushels per acre, down 2.6 bushels from the last year. Harvested area, at 45.7 million acres, is down 4 percent from the 2010 crop.

Sorghum grain production in 2011 is estimated at 214 million bushels, 38 percent down from 2010. Sorghum average yield was 54.6 bushels per acre, down 17.2 bushel from the last year. Area planted for sorghum, at 5.48 million acres, is up 1 percent from the last year. Harvested area, at 3.93 million acres, is down 18 percent from 2010.

The full Crop Production 2011 Summary is available online at The report contains year-end acreage, yield and production estimates for grains and hay; oilseeds; cotton, tobacco and sugar; dry beans, peas and lentils; and potatoes and miscellaneous crops. — WLJ