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Contact: Jeff Geuder, (202) 720-2127
Ellen Dougherty, (202) 690-8122

2006 Soybean Crop a Record-Breaker USDA Reports


WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2007 – U.S. farmers produced their largest-ever soybean crop in 2006, according to the Crop Production 2006 Summary released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). For corn, 2006 production was the third largest on record, while cotton production declined 10 percent after reaching a record high in 2005.

The 3.19-billion-bushel soybean crop was 2 percent larger than the previous record set in 2004, and 4 percent larger than 2005. Nationwide, harvested area was up 5 percent from 2005, to 74.6 million acres, while the nationwide average yield per acre, at 42.7 bushels, was down slightly from last year’s record. Several states had record yields, including Louisiana, Michigan, New York and South Carolina. Kentucky and Ohio, meanwhile, tied their previous yield records.

2006 corn production, at 10.5 billion bushels, was 5 percent less than 2005 and 11 percent less than the record set in 2004. While the average yield of 149.1 bushels per acre was up slightly from 2005, farmers planted fewer corn acres last spring as high fuel and fertilizer costs precipitated a switch to less input-intensive crops.

Following two consecutive record-setting years, U.S. upland cotton production declined in 2006. The 21-million-bale crop was 10 percent smaller than 2005’s record. Harvested acres declined 8 percent from 2005, to 12.4 million acres, while yield was down 14 pounds per acre, to 811 pounds.

2006 rice production totaled 194 million hundredweight, down 13 percent from 2005. The 2.82 million acres harvested was down 16 percent, while yields were up slightly, to 6,868 pounds per acre.

U.S. sugarbeet production reached a record-high 33.8 million tons in 2005, up 23 percent from 2005. Tobacco production was up 13 percent to 727 million pounds. Several other major crops saw production declines from 2005, including: sorghum, down 29 percent to 277 million bushels; oats, down 18 percent to a record-low 93.8 million bushels; barley, down 15 percent to 180 million bushels; all wheat, down 14 percent to 1.81 billion bushels; and all hay down 6 percent, to 142 million tons.

The full Crop Production 2006 Summary, in which NASS provides year-end production, yield and acreage estimates for major crops, is available online at

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