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Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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Farmers Produce Record Corn, Soybean Crops

Corn being harvested during the 2009 season.

Big notes of “Thanks” and “Congrats” are in order for U.S. farmers.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released its “Crop Production 2009 Summary.” This report highlights the USDA’s best estimates of what farmers produced during the 2009 crop year across several crops, including Monsanto’s core crops of corn, soybeans and cotton. I’ve pulled out the top 10 production states by crop and highlighted their crop stats below.

The big news: corn and soybean farmers produced records for total production and yields. Farmers are expected to harvest 13.2 billion bushels of corn, breaking the previous record set in 2007 by 200 million bushels. The average corn yield across the United States is 165.2 bushels per acre, shattering the previous record set in 2004 by 4.9 bushels. For soybeans, farmers hauled in 3.36 billion bushels, topping the 2005 record of 3.2 billion bushels in 2006. The yield average for soybeans was 44 bushels per acre, which broke the record of 43.1 in 2005.

Cotton farmers produced an average of 774 pounds of cotton per acre, down 39 pounds from 2008. Total production was down as well, as farmers produced 12.4 million 480-pound bales. That’s a decrease of 400,000 bales from 2008.

As one farmer has said, this year was already one for the record books. Farmers persevered through a rough season of late plantings and late harvests that caused problems across the Corn and Cotton Belts. Some farmers in the Peoria area still have corn in their fields. Farmers in parts of Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota are experiencing the same problems. As a result, the USDA announced it will resurvey farmers in areas where corn or soybeans are still in the ground. If results require updating, the USDA will adjust the crop production numbers for its March 10 update.

This report may not seem like a big deal to non-aggies. I would urge you to read the last few pages of the report (pages 72 through 87) that summarize the weather review and the crop-by-crop review (from corn to sunflowers to dry edible peas) to get a better idea of the conditions that farmers face. In my mind, this report is a reminder of how farmers continually produce more food on fewer acres year after year while facing and enduring the challenges that Mother Nature throws at them.

Thanks, farmers, for all you do!


State Total Production (bushels) Yield Acres Harvested
Iowa 2,438,800,000 182 13.4 million
Illinois 2,065,000,000 175 11.8
Nebraska 1,575,300,000 178 8.85
Minnesota 1,251,250,000 175 7.15
Indiana 933,660,000 171 5.46
South Dakota 719,100,000 153 4.7
Kansas 598,300,000 155 3.86
Ohio 546,360,000 174 3.14
Wisconsin 448,290,000 153 2.93
Missouri 446,760,000 153 2.92


State Total Production (bushels) Yield Acres Harvested
Iowa 486,030,000 51 9.53
Illinois 430,100,000 46 9.35
Minnesota 284,800,000 40 7.12
Indiana 266,560,000 49 5.44
Nebraska 259,420,000 54.5 4.76
Missouri 230,550,000 43.5 5.3
Ohio 221,970,000 49 4.53
South Dakota 175,980,000 42 4.19
Kansas 160,600,000 44 3.65
North Dakota 116,100,000 30 3.87


State Total Production (# of bales) Yield Acres Harvested
Texas 4,932,000 645 3,667,000
Georgia 1,820,000 882 990,000
Arkansas 830,000 797 500,000
North Carolina 760,000 986 370,000
California 600,000 1548 186,000
Missouri 520,000 960 260,000
Tennessee 500,000 857 280,000
Arizona 444,000 1463 145,700
Mississippi 425,000 692 295,000
Alabama 360,000 691 250,000

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