WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Agriculture reduced its expectations for U.S. corn and soybean production "for the second consecutive month Friday, predicting what could be the lowest average corn yield in more than 15 years as the worst drought" in 50 years continues to grip major farm states, reports the Washington Post.
USDA says that the states with exceptional or the most severe drought are: Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky and Nebraska. States experiencing extreme drought are Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.
Last week USDA lowered its projected U.S. corn production to 10.8 billion bushels, down 17% from its forecast in July of nearly 13 billion bushels. The newspaper writes that USDA now expects corn growers to average 123.4 bushels per acre, "down 24 bushels from last year in what would be the lowest average yield in 17 years."
Soybean is projected to hit 2.69 billion bushels, a 12% decline from last year and "well off the 3.05 billion bushels the USDA had expected" in July. The expected average yield of 36.1 bushels per acre would be the lowest since 2003.
"Corn farmers had expected a record year just months ago, when they sowed 96.4 million acres €" the most since 1937. The USDA now predicts only 87.4 million acres will be harvested, although it notes the crop still could be the eighth biggest in U.S. history," writes the newspaper.