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Prices plummet on report U.S. farmers grew record corn, soybean crops in 2009

While Minnesota farmers harvested a record amount of corn last year, North Dakota farmers not only produced 27 percent less than the record set in 2008 but had to leave a record amount of the crop -- nearly a third of it -- out in snowy fields.

While Minnesota farmers harvested a record amount of corn last year, North Dakota farmers not only produced 27 percent less than the record set in 2008 but had to leave a record amount of the crop -- nearly a third of it -- out in snowy fields.

Prices, meanwhile, plummeted Tuesday, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported record corn and soybean crops in 2009.

U.S. corn production was pegged at 13.2 billion bushels, 1 percent higher than the record set in 2007 and 9 percent higher than 2008 production. Yields of 165.2 bushels an acre set a record, up markedly from the record set in 2004 of 160.3 bushels. Planted acreage nationally was 86.5 million acres, second only to 2007's 93.5 million acres.

Soybeans nationally set records in four categories: acres planted, acres harvested, per-acre yield and total production. Farmers harvested 76.4 million acres, up 2 percent from the record set in 2008; the yield was 44 bushels per acre, up 0.9 bushel from the record in 2005. It all added up to production of 3.36 billion bushels, up 5 percent from the record set in 2006 and up 13 percent from 2008.

In North Dakota, it was a different story as the wet and late spring turned many farmers to plant soybeans or edible beans instead of corn. The cool summer kept the corn behind the eight ball all season so that a record number of acres has been left unharvested after the Christmas snowfall halted harvest in eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota.

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Last week, USDA estimated 29 percent of the corn in the state remained in the field. Average corn yields in North Dakota were pegged last fall at 117 bushels per acre, down about 5 bushels from the five-year norm.

It means a busy spring as farmers will have to finish harvesting last season's corn before planting this year's crops.

The giant price drops Tuesday in corn and soybeans don't help matters, as per-bushel futures prices in Chicago fell 30 cents or more on the news of the record crop. The single-day decrease amounted to about 10 percent of the corn prices and 3 percent of the soybean prices.

Meanwhile, North Dakota's soybean production was pegged Tuesday at 116 million bushels, up 10 percent from 2008 and the second-highest since 2006's 122 million bushels.

Sunflower production was down 13 percent from 2008, and canola was up 2 percent and flax up 28 percent from 2008.

Minnesota farmers set a record of 1.25 billion bushels of corn produced, up from the record set in 2005 of 1.19 billion, USDA reported Tuesday. Yields jumped 11 bushels an acre from 2008, to 175 bushels an acre, well higher than the national average.

The soybean crop in Minnesota was pegged at 285 million bushels, up 8 percent from 2008, but well lower than the record of 319 million bushels harvested in 2006. Soybean yields were up 2 bushels to 40 bushels an acre.

Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send e-mail to slee@gfherald.com

Related Topics: AGRICULTURECORNCROPS
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