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U.S. crops shrink from last month, USDA says

It’s starting to look like planting delays and other weather maladies experienced in several major growing regions last spring may be starting to have an impact on crop yields. According to USDA’s Nov. 10 crop production report, production declined from last month’s prognostications for every major U.S. crop.

Cotton production is forecast at 13.5 million bales, down 1 percent from last month and down 30 percent from last year. Yield is expected to average 837 pounds per harvested acre, down 12 pounds from last month and down 42 pounds from the record high yield in 2007.

Upland cotton production is forecast at 13.1 million bales, down 1 percent from last month and 29 percent below 2007. Texas producers expect lower yields than last month, while producers in the Southeast are expecting increased yields. Upland growers in Alabama and New Mexico are expecting record high yields. Pima production is forecast at 459,000 bales, up 2 percent from last month but down 46 percent from last year.

In the Mid-South, projected cotton yields decreased from last month by 112 pounds in Arkansas, 74 pounds in Louisiana and 40 pounds in Mississippi. USDA bumped expected yields by 77 pounds over last month for Tennessee, which is enjoying a nice rebound from disastrous yields in 2007.

Corn production is forecast at 12 billion bushels, down slightly from the October forecast and 8 percent below 2007. Based on conditions as of Nov. 1, yields are expected to average 153.8 bushels per acre, down a tenth of a bushel from October, but 2.7 bushels above last year. If realized, this will be the second highest yield on record behind 2004, and production will be the second largest, behind last year.

U.S. rice production in 2008-2009 is forecast at 203.5 million hundredweight, 700,000 hundredweight below last month due to lower yields. Average yield is estimated at 6,959 pounds per acre, down 23 pounds from last month. Harvested area is unchanged at 2.92 million acres. Long-grain rice production was lowered 500,000 hundredweight to 154.7 million hundredweight, while combined medium- and short-grain production was lowered 200,000 hundredweight to 48.7 million.

U.S. sorghum production for 2008-2009 is forecast 7 million bushels lower this month.

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