Missouri projecting record crops

Saturday, November 13, 2004

From staff and wire reports

With the harvest nearing completion, agricultural statisticians are raising their record predictions for most of Missouri's leading crops, including corn and soybeans.

Soybeans, the state's top cash crop, are forecast at a record 227 million bushels based on Nov. 1 conditions, up 5 percent from last month's forecast and 22 percent above the previous record production in 2001, the Missouri Agricultural Statistics Service said Friday.

A state record yield of 46 bushels an acres is expected -- two bushels above the October forecast and eight bushels above the record set in 1992, 1994 and 2001.

But a greater than usual amount of that bumper crop is still sitting in the field. As of the start of this week, 68 percent of soybeans had been harvested -- a pace that was nearly two weeks behind normal because of wet conditions.

"Farmers still need some good harvesting weather to get the crops in the bin, since the frequents rains of October and early November delayed progress well behind normal," said Gene Danekas, director of the state branch of the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Missouri's corn crop is now forecast at a record 453 million bushels, up 2 percent from the October forecast and 14 percent above the record set in 2000. Corn yields are projected at a record 159 bushels per acres, three bushels above last month's forecast and 15 bushels above the 2000 record.

Gerald Bryan, an agronomist with the University of Missouri Extension in Jackson, said local farmers averaged 200 or more bushels per acre of corn.

"I know some big farmers, some good farmers, and this was the first time they broke 200 bushels," he said. "I think locally we had a record. We exceeded last year's yield considerably. Basically from the Jackson area north we had good rain. We had timely rain fall and were able to get a good yield all over the area. I didn't see too many bad fields this year."

He said some of the double-crop soybeans didn't do so well because the area had a dry spell in August.

The corn harvest was 88 percent complete as of last Sunday, about two weeks behind the average pace of the past five years.

Missouri's big harvests are part of a national trend.

Records also are expected nationally in corn and soybean production and yields, as well as in yields for cotton and rice. Earlier this week, the U.S. Agriculture Department forecast that national net farm income would reach $73.7 billion this year, beating the record set last year by nearly 25 percent.

In other leading Missouri crops:

Cotton production is now forecast at a record 770,000 bales, up 12 percent from the October forecast and 10 percent above last year's record. The predicted yield of 960 pounds is 100 pounds more than expected last month and 98 pounds above last year's record. The cotton harvest was 59 percent complete as of last Sunday, more than three weeks behind the average pace of the past five years.

Rice production is forecast at 12.4 million hundredweight, up 1 percent from last month's forecast and 18 percent more than the last year. Yields are forecast at 6,400 pounds per acre, up 270 pounds from last year's record. The rice crop was 97 percent harvested as of the start of the week, just barely behind the average pace.

Grain sorghum production is forecast at 14.9 million bushels, unchanged from the October forecast but 8 percent below last year. The projected yield of 103 bushels per acre also is the same as last month's forecast, but it is 26 bushels above last year and six bushels above the 1992 record. The sorghum harvest was 75 percent complete as of last Sunday, almost three weeks behind the average pace.

Staff writer Bob Miller contributed to this report.

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