Louisiana has lost over 35 percent of its cotton crop to hurricanes and other weather maladies, according to USDA’s Oct. 10 crop production report. The report, which describes conditions as of Oct. 1, pegs Louisiana cotton yield at 591 pounds per acre, down 184 pounds from USDA’s September report and down 318 pounds from October.

Many in the Louisiana cotton industry believe the yield losses could end up being 50 percent or higher.

Meanwhile, U.S. cotton production is forecast at 13.7 million 480-pound bales, down 1 percent from last month and down 29 percent from last year. Yield is expected to average 849 pounds per harvested acre, unchanged from last month but down 30 pounds from the record yield in 2007. Upland cotton production is forecast at 13.3 million bales, down 1 percent from last month and 28 percent below 2007.

Producers in the Southeast and Texas increased yields from last month, while producers in Louisiana and Mississippi expect lower yields due to the effects of Hurricane Gustav. Cotton yields have improved over last month in Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas.

Upland growers in Arkansas and New Mexico are expecting record high yields. American Pima production is forecast at 451,000 bales, down 2 percent from last month and down 47 percent from last year.

U.S. corn production is forecast at 12.2 billion bushels, up 1 percent from last month but 7 percent below 2007. Based on conditions as of Oct. 1, yields are expected to average 154 bushels per acre, up 1.7 bushels from September and 2.9 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. Yield forecasts are lower than last month across the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys and eastern Corn Belt as dry conditions during September continued to adversely affect the late developing corn crop.

Forecast yields also decreased in parts of the Delta and Missouri where excessive moisture and high winds from hurricanes Gustav and Ike stressed the crop. Yield prospects improved in the central Corn Belt, central Great Plains, and upper Mississippi Valley as September rains brought much needed moisture to the region.

Soybean production is forecast at 2.98 billion bushels, up 2 percent from the September forecast and up 11 percent from last year. If realized, this will be the fourth largest production on record. Based on Oct. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 39.5 bushels per acre, down a half bushel from last month and down 2.2 bushels from 2007. Compared with last month, yields are forecast lower or unchanged across the Corn Belt and Great Plains, with the exception of Illinois and Kansas.

Yields increased or are unchanged from the Sept. 1 forecast across the Southeast, the lower Mississippi Valley, and the mid-Atlantic states. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at 75.5 million acres, up 3 percent from last month and up 18 percent from 2007.

U.S. rice production is expected to be 204 million hundredweight, compared to 197 million hundredweight in 2007. Yields declined from last month’s projections in Arkansas and Mississippi and remained the same in Missouri and Louisiana. Average yields increased for Texas and California.

e-mail: erobinson@farmpress.com