May crop report comes in

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Illinois Field Office of NASS today released the USDA's May Crop Report. Highlights of the report include:

ILLINOIS

The Illinois winter wheat crop is expected to yield 62 bushels per acre based on conditions as of May 1, 1 bushel above last year’s yield. If this yield is realized, total production would be 39.06 million bushels, 16 percent less than last year’s production. Farmers seeded 660 thousand acres to winter wheat last fall and expect to harvest 630 thousand acres for grain. This compares to 800 thousand acres seeded and 765 thousand acres harvested in 2011. Winter wheat headed had reached 80 percent as of April 29, compared to 6 percent last year and the five-year average of 6 percent. The crop was also 24 percent filled as of April 29. The condition of the crop was 20 percent excellent, 60 percent good, 16 percent fair, 3 percent poor, and 1 percent very poor.

Hay stocks in Illinois on May 1, 2012 were at 300,000 tons, down 6 percent from a year ago. Harvest of hay continues with 18 percent of the first cutting of alfalfa complete as of April 29. Alfalfa condition was 13 percent excellent, 68 percent good, 17 percent fair, 1 percent poor, and 1 percent very poor. Red Clover condition was 14 percent excellent, 69 percent good, 16 percent fair, and 1 percent poor.

UNITED STATES

U.S. Winter wheat: Production is forecast at 1.69 billion bushels, up 13 percent from 2011. Based on May 1 conditions, the United States yield is forecast at 47.6 bushels per acre, up 1.4 bushels from last year. Expected grain area totals 35.6 million acres, up 10 percent from last year. As of April 29, sixty-four percent of the winter wheat crop in the 18 major producing States was rated in good to excellent condition, 30 points above the same week in 2011, and heading had reached 54 percent, 30 points ahead of the 5-year average.

The combination of a mild winter and spring, paired with timely precipitation, resulted in beneficial growing conditions in the Great Plains States. Precipitation this spring not only aided the winter wheat crop, but also improved pasture and hay fields, leading cattle producers to harvest wheat acreage for grain instead of hay. Current crop conditions have improved from last year in all major Hard Red Winter (HRW) producing states except Montana and South Dakota. As of April 29, the percent of crop rated good to excellent in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas was 27 points or more higher than last year, contributing to forecasted yield increases for those States.

Crop conditions were varied in several of the Soft Red Winter (SRW) producing States due to cooler than normal spring temperatures. Yields are forecasted to be down in the Coastal Plains States and the Southeast, where many States set record yields in 2011. However, yields are expected to be up from last year in much of the Corn Belt and the Northeast.

Warmer temperatures and adequate moisture in the Pacific Northwest left growers optimistic after a predominantly cool start to the spring growing season. As of April 29, crop conditions reported as good to excellent were unchanged in Idaho, down 8 points in Oregon, while up 18 points in Washington compared to last year. Yields are forecast to be down from last year in Oregon and Washington but up in Idaho.

U.S Hay stocks on farms: All hay stored on farms May 1, 2012, totaled 21.4 million tons, down 4 percent from a year ago. Disappearance from December 1, 2011 - May 1, 2012 totaled 69.3 million tons, compared with 79.9 million tons for the same period a year ago. This is the smallest disappearance since 1985.

Compared with last year, hay stocks as a percent of production increased across much of the Northern Tier and in many eastern States. Mild temperatures coupled with limited snowpack left many pastures and ranges accessible to livestock herds for longer periods of time during the winter allowing producers to feed less hay. Similarly, beneficial rainfall throughout much of the spring and summer boosted pasture growth in many Atlantic Coast States, delaying the need for supplemental feedstuffs as winter approached last year.

Elsewhere, on-farm stocks declined from last year in a number Great Plains States, as prolonged drought conditions hampered pasture growth and forced many livestock producers to feed an increased amount of hay to their herds.