USDA’s August Crop Production released Sept. 11 pegs corn production at 13.0 billion bu., 2% higher than last month’s prediction. If achieved, that would be 7% higher than last year and represent the second-largest crop on record. The projected average yield of 161.9 bu., 8.0 bu./acre more than last year, would be a new record if realized.

Of course, that all hinges upon how soon the first frost comes along. Last week’s reports of the possibilities of one in the northern Corn Belt this week sent corn futures limit-up. Meteorologists backtracked the next day and so did prices.

According to the monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) released the same day, the 2009/10 marketing-year average farm price is projected lower at $3.05 to $3.65/bu., compared with $3.10 to $3.90/bu. last month.

The crop production report also bumps soybean production up 1% from the previous month’s estimate to 3.25 billion bu., which would be 10% more than 2008. According to WASDE estimates, the U.S. season-average soybean price range for 2009/10 is projected at $8.10 to $10.10/bu., down 30c on both ends of the range. The soybean meal price is projected at $250 to $310/short ton, down $10 on both ends. The soybean oil price range is unchanged at 32-36c/lb.

You can find the Crop Production report at usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/CropProd/CropProd-09-11-2009.pdf, and the WASDE report at usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/wasde/wasde-09-11-2009.pdf

For the week ending Sept. 13, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service:

Corn – 93% is at or beyond the dough stage, 2% behind last year, and 5% slower than average. 66% of acreage reached the dent stage, which is 10% behind last year and 20% behind normal – more than a week behind. Denting was active across much of the major corn-producing regions, with the most progress evident in the northern Corn Belt where above-average temps and dry conditions prevailed during the week. 12% of the acreage has reached maturity, 5% behind last year and 25% behind the five-year average. Significant delays in maturity were evident in all estimating states except North Carolina where progress was on par with the average. 69% is reported Good to Excellent, 8% more than a year ago.

Soybeans – Leaf drop had occurred on 17% of the nation’s acreage, 3% behind last year and 19% behind average; more than a week behind. Leaf drop was most active in Minnesota and Ohio during the week, but remained behind normal in all estimating states following delays earlier in the growing season. 68% is rated as Good to Excellent, which is 11% more than at the same time last year.

Winter wheat – 13% has been seeded, which is 4 points ahead of last year, but on par with average. Seeding was most active in the Pacific Northwest and northern Rocky Mountains where dry conditions favored fieldwork, and in areas of the Great Plains where soil moisture levels were adequate to help establish germination.

Spring wheat – 69% has been harvested, which is 22% behind last year and 23% behind the average pace. The most significant delays remained in Minnesota and North Dakota where the harvest pace was over two and three weeks behind normal, respectively.

Barley – 83% is harvested, which is 8% in back of last year and 12% behind the average pace. In Washington, harvest was nearly complete, which is slightly ahead of the normal pace.

Sorghum – Sorghum coloring has reached 70% complete, 1% ahead of last year, but 5 points behind the five-year average. Rapid coloring in South Dakota during the week allowed progress to reach a near-normal pace, just 2 points behind the average. 35% has reached maturity, 3% behind last year and 7% behind the average. The crop in Nebraska and New Mexico had yet to reach maturity and was 10 and 5 points behind the average, respectively. 30% is in the bin, 1% less last year and 2% less than average. 50%is rated Good to Excellent, 4% less than the same time a year ago.

Oats – 96% of the crop is in the bin, which is 4% behind last year and 3% behind the five-year average. Producers in South Dakota completed their harvest during the week, while progress in Minnesota and North Dakota lagged the average by 6 and 14 points, respectively.

Pasture – 48% of the nation’s pasture and range is still rated as Good or Excellent this summer, 6% more than at the same time last year. 23% is rated Poor or Very Poor, compared to 27% a year ago.

States with the worst pasture conditions – at least 40% of the acreage rated Poor or worse – include: Arizona (78%); California (90%); New Mexico (50%); Oregon (49%); Texas (52%); and Washington (44%).

The lushest conditions – at least 40% rated Good or better – exist in: Alabama (82%); Arkansas (72%); Colorado (52%); Florida (78%); Georgia (53%); Idaho (62%); Illinois (67%); Indiana (60%); Iowa (63%); Kansas (64%); Kentucky (67%); Louisiana (41%); Maine (68%); Maryland (65%); Michigan (48%); Mississippi (61%); Missouri (67%); Nebraska (73%); New York (67%); North Carolina (56%); North Dakota (58%); Ohio (59%); Oklahoma (49%); Pennsylvania (68%); South Dakota (67%); Tennessee (67%); Utah (52%); Virginia (57%); West Virginia (53%); Wisconsin (45%); and Wyoming (51%).