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Peanut production down by a third

U.S. peanut producers, responding this year to warnings of an over-supply, dropped production by almost a third, down to 3.37 billion pounds harvested from 1.21 million acres. This is down 31 percent from the 2005 crop.

The national average yield is forecast at 2,780 pounds per acre, down 209 pounds from last year's peanut crop. Much of the yield drop is being blamed on drought conditions experienced throughout the U.S. Peanut Belt this year.

Production in the Southeast states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina, is expected to total 2.36 billion pounds, down 30 percent from last year's level. Expected acreage for harvest, at 924,000, is down 23 percent from 2005. Yields in the region are expected to average 2,550 pounds per acre or 258 pounds below 2005.

In Virginia-North Carolina, peanut production is forecast at 339 million pounds, down 4 percent from 2005. Expected acreage for harvest, at 101,000, is down 14 percent from last year. Yield is forecast at 3,352 pounds per acre, up 352 pounds from 2005.

U.S. corn production is forecast at 10.7 billion bushels in 2006. This is 3 percent lower than in 2005. Yields are expected to average 151.2 bushels per acre. This is 3.3 bushels higher than last year. If realized, the yield would be the second largest on record, behind 2004.

Yield forecasts are lower than earlier estimates across much of the western and central Corn Belt and Atlantic Coast states as producers reported that actual harvest yields were not as good as expected earlier due to lower grain weight per ear. Stalk quality and lodging problems also were reported in some areas.

Producers in the northern Great Plains, Delta states, and parts of the Southeast reported better than expected yields. Compared with last year, yields are higher in all Corn Belt states except Iowa and Minnesota.

Soybean production in the United States is forecast at 3.20 billion bushels this year. This is about 5 percent above 2005. If realized, this would be the largest U.S. soybean crop on record. Yields are expected to average 43 bushels per acre, equal to last year's record-high yield.

Producers in the northern Great Lakes States, Delaware, New York, North Carolina and the Dakotas are realizing higher yields than earlier expectations, while yield prospects decreased slightly as harvest progressed in Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Pennsylvania. U.S. area for harvest is forecast at 74.5 million acres, up 5 percent from 2005.

Upland cotton harvested area, at 12.5 million acres, is down 8 percent from last year. American-Pima harvested acres are up 21 percent from last year.

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