As harvest winds down, U.S. cotton, corn, soybean and rice crops keep getting bigger. According to USDA's November crop production report, cotton production is projected 5 percent higher than last month, while production for corn, soybeans and rice rose 1 percent. The report reflects conditions as of Nov. 1.

All cotton production is forecast at 22.5 million 480-pound bales, up 5 percent from October and up 23 percent from last year. Yield is expected to average a record high 818 pounds per harvested acre, up 36 pounds from last month.

If realized, the yield will be 88 pounds above the previous record high yield established in 2003. Record high yields are expected in Arkansas, California, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. Harvested area, at 13.2 million acres, is unchanged from October but 10 percent above 2003.

Corn production is forecast at 11.7 billion bushels, up 1 percent from last month and 16 percent above 2003. Based on conditions as of Nov. 1, the yield is expected to average 160.2 bushels per acre, up 1.8 bushels from October and 18 bushels above last year. If realized, both production and yield would be the largest on record.

The previous records for both were set last year when production was estimated at 10.1 billion bushels and yield was 142.2 bushels per acre. Across the United States, yields are forecast at record high levels in 19 of 33 states.

U.S. rice production in 2004-05 is forecast at a record 227.65 million hundredweight, 1 percent above last month and 14 percent above 2003-04. Average yield is forecast at a record 6,828 pounds per acre, up 65 pounds per acre from last month. Area planted and harvested are unchanged from a month ago.

Ending stocks are projected at 41.8 million hundredweight, 3 percent above last month, 77 percent above 2003-04, and the largest stocks since 1986-87.

Soybean production is forecast at 3.15 billion bushels, up 1 percent from October and 28 percent above 2003. If realized, this would be the largest U.S. soybean crop on record. Based on Nov. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average a record high 42.6 bushels per acre, up 0.6 bushel from October and 8.7 bushels above last year.

Producers in the Corn Belt, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the Carolinas are realizing higher soybean yields than expected, while yield prospects decreased as harvest progressed in North Dakota and Minnesota. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at 74 million acres, unchanged from last month but up 2 percent from 2003.


e-mail: erobinson@primediabusiness.com