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Published September 13, 2011, 10:46 AM

USDA: Louisiana rice, cotton yields approach state records

NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana's rice harvest may have a record yield, and cotton farmers will have a near-record, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana's rice harvest may have a record yield, and cotton farmers will have a near-record, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Preliminary harvest results indicate a new state record yield of 6,400 pounds per acre for rice — 100 above the mark set in 2009, said Nathan Crisp, director of the Louisiana Field Office.

He said the cotton yield is expected to be the second-highest on record, at 926 pounds per acre. That's 91 below the state record set in 2007.

Rice production is forecast at 1.345 million tons — up 4 percent from the August forecast, but down 18 percent from 2010. U.S. rice production is forecast at 9.5 million tons, up one percent from the August estimate but down 21 percent from last year.

Louisiana's cotton production is expected to total 550,000 bales, up 22 percent from the August estimate and up 26 percent from last year. U.S. upland cotton production is forecast at 15.8 million 480-pound bales, up fractionally from last month but down ten percent from last year.

Louisiana's corn production is forecast at 71.5 million bushels, unchanged from the previous month's estimate but up two percent from last year. An estimated 550,000 acres will be harvested for grain, up 50,000 acres from a year ago. U.S. corn production is forecast at 12.5 billion bushels, down three percent from last month but up fractionally from 2010. If realized, this will be the third largest production total on record for the United States.

Soybean production is expected to total 35 million bushels in Louisiana, unchanged from the August estimate but down 16 percent from last year. U.S. soybean production is forecast at 3.1 billion bushels, up one percent from the August estimate but down seven percent from last year.

Sorghum production is estimated at 12.6 million bushels in the state, up one percent from the August estimate and up 69 percent from 2010. Acreage to be harvested for grain is forecast at 155,000 acres, a bit more than doubled from last year. U.S. sorghum production is forecast at 244 million bushels, up one percent from last month but down 29 percent from last year.

The Louisiana sugarcane crop is estimated at 11.8 million net tons, unchanged from the previous month but up one percent from last year. Harvested acreage for sugar and seed is forecast at 420,000 acres, unchanged from last year. U.S. sugarcane production for sugar and seed in 2011 is forecast at 28.6 million net tons, down fractionally from the August estimate but up five percent from 2010.

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