If USDA estimates are correct, this year's corn crop will be the second largest in history at 11.1 billion bu. That's according to last week's Crop Production report. View it at: usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/CropProd/CropProd-09-12-2006.txt.

The 11.1-billion-bu. estimate is 1% higher than the August estimate and would make for a crop fractionally larger than last year's.

The monthly report also lifted the estimate of soybean production for the year by 6% over August at 3.09 billion bu. That would also mean a larger crop than last year and the second-largest soybean harvest on record.

Overall, total hay production for the year is estimated at 7% lower than last year. Depending on where you live and how high the price is, that sure seems like a generous assessment.

For the week ending Sept. 9, according to National Ag Statistics Service (NASS).

  • Corn -- 91% is at or beyond the Dent Stage, compared to 88% last year and 81% for the five-year average. Progress is ahead of average in all states. Maturation is at 34%, the same as last year, but 2% ahead of normal. 6% is harvested, which is on par with last year and the five-year average. 59% is rated Good or better, compared to 51% last year.
  • Soybeans -- 27% of the acreage was at or beyond dropping leaves, 7% behind last year, but the same as average. 60% is rated Good or better.
  • Winter Wheat -- 9% of the crop is sown, 2% less than the same time last year and 3% less than average. Colorado is the furthest behind, 12% off the average pace.
  • Barley -- Harvest advanced to 97% complete, compared to 94% last year and 91% for normal.
  • Sorghum -- 96% of the acreage is in the heading stage, which equals last year and the average. Heading was complete or nearly complete in all states except New Mexico and Oklahoma. 72% was at or beyond turning color, the same as last year but 1% behind the norm. 36% is mature, compared to 33% last year and 38% for average. 33% is rated Good or better, compared to 47% last year.
  • Pasture -- 25% is rated Good or Excellent, compared to 32% last year. 24% is rated Poor and 23% is ranked Very Poor, compared to 23% and 13% respectively at the same time last year.
States with the worst pasture conditions -- at least 40% of the acreage rated poor or worse -- include: Alabama (65%); Arizona (58%); Arkansas (53%); California (67%); Colorado (44%); Kansas (43%); Mississippi (68%); Missouri (62%); Montana (61%); Nebraska (60%); Nevada (65%); North Dakota (64%); Oklahoma (70%); OR (48%); South Dakota (58%); Texas (77%); Wyoming (74%).

States with the lushest pasture conditions -- at least 40% rated good or better -- include: Florida (60%); Illinois (55%); Indiana (60%); Iowa (58%); Kentucky (61%); Maine (89%); Michigan (53%); New Mexico (60%); New York (65%); North Carolina (53%); Ohio (55%); South Carolina (48%); Utah (52%); Washington (40%); West Virginia (44%); Wisconsin (50%).